Tag Archives: bad customer service

Don’t Throw Your Customers Away During the Sale Season – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s dumb marketing move goes to Macy’s.

Black Friday. It gives sales a whole new meaning. It’s the start of the sales season, free shipping, and great discounts with a mix of crowds, chaos, and long lines. Macy’s, one of my favorite shops around, was a disaster in the aftermath of Black Friday.

I went to go look at the shoes because Macy’s has some of the best shoe sales every season.  Once I got there, I was severely disappointed with what I saw; shoes were in no particular order, the employees were less than helpful and couldn’t keep organized as to who was helping who. The displays were a mess and there was a no clear distinguished section for line and people just standing around.

Because the shoes were in such disarray, it was hard to really tell what was priced what because they were moved from table to table and different prices were posted. Also it was impossible to use the coupons that Macy’s has been marketing because “the items were already sale” so it wasn’t permitted to use them.  Macy’s is normally such a nice, orderly, and friendly store, but with the rush of the holiday sales, it’s best to steer clear unless you have infinite patience and an understanding of people and the craziness that comes with holidays.

Lesson learned: If you’re going to offer sales that are hard to pass up, make sure that your customers are taken care of and make sure that you can offer them assistance. Also, when promoting seasonal sales, make sure you make it possible for your customers to utilize all their benefits, including coupons and discounts.


“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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Under Qualified Staff Rushes Customers Away – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Mural Arts Tour.

I’ve been extremely curious about the Mural Arts Tour in Philadelphia since we are in the top 3 cities for public art. The concept of Mural Arts is to encourage kids, communities, and even inmates to get together and participate in creating a mural, as well as creating exciting and vibrant city walls. So when Bank of America announced sponsored free tours, I jumped at the opportunity to experience it for myself.

Here is how the tour played out for us: We got on the trolley and the tour guide wasn’t present. We sat down in the front bench; ten minutes later, the tour guide arrived and mumbled under her breath “Oh, someone is in my seat.” She turned to us and said “You’re in my seat, can you move?” We moved; she didn’t say thank you and acted inconvenienced. This seat should have been labeled reserved for the tour guide, but most tour guides don’t sit.

The tour guide explained she was a part time mural artist with this program. She vaguely explained how details were mapped out to make a mural but not clearly if you didn’t understand gridding- the process of making a mural large scale and not lose the detail. For the duration of the tour, she directed us to look left but the mural was on the right and vice versa. She showed us a “mural” that was actually an advertisement on the side of a building but pointed it out while admitting she didn’t know anything about it. Finally, she explained, “The murals are funded through sponsors, building owners and people like you, who take the tours. But this tour is free; so not by you.” She seemed to judge us for taking a “free” tour, when in reality; the tour was sponsored by Bank of America.

Overall, the tour was okay. Our attitudes were a little skewed from the start, but it was clear she was an untrained tour guide. Another thing the Mural Arts Tour and Bank of America missed was an opportunity to make money out of us “free-loaders”.

Bank of America should have supplied pamphlets for the people on the tour and Mural Arts lacked follow through with getting us on another tour. Since they have 5 other tours covering different parts of the city, they should have had a postcard that had a small discount. If I liked this tour, I would have definitely booked a paid one or given it to someone I knew would use it.

Lesson Learned: Cutting corners, using untrained, and under qualified staff can hurt your business. There is a dilemma with small business owners, they worry about employees leaving after they’re trained and the money spent is then “wasted”. When in fact, trained employees generally stay longer; it reduces the number of errors they make (increased productivity), and it increases revenue. Training is in fact a part of marketing and your customers deserve it. Plus, don’t forget your follow through. 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Never forget that!

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Fastest Way to Lose Business – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to 21st Century Insurance.

I have had insurance with 21st Century since I bought my car in 2008. I never had any claims, problems or anything in those years. So when I received a cancellation noticed, you could imagine my surprise.

I paid, in full, my current amount due but in two different installments. As far as I knew, everything was fine. It seemed to
send their system into a frenzy and I was the one to blame.

So I called. We know the person we initially talk to has a certain amount of power as far as making changes to accounts. But what I found out from talking her, who was friendly and helpful, was that my first payment – because of the billing cycle – was not applied to what I owed but it was applied to all of my monthly payments deducting each one by $20 and was considered an overpayment.

First of all, what? I owe money and you’re not applying it to what I currently owe? Second of all, why is this even an option?

As soon as I found out that she couldn’t help me, I asked for a manager. This manager listened to the problem and basically said that she couldn’t do anything to help me. I asked her a question, and she said, “I’m sorry we can’t do that because you’re in cancellation status.”

Remember, this cancellation status wasn’t my fault. I paid everything owed but in two installments, and that was apparently unacceptable. It wasn’t until I threatened to switch insurance companies that she was willing to contact the billing department and get this fixed. Needless to say, I ended up switching companies as soon as I was done talking to 21st Century and have saved $700 a year.

Lesson Learned: Customer service, scratch that – GOOD customer service, is the cheapest but most important aspect of business. If your customers are happy, they have no reason to shop around and possibly change companies, brands, or move their loyalty somewhere else! So the question is: what have you done today to make a customer happy? Did you smile? Say Hello? Make your customers feel welcome? Reassess how you and all of your employees look like from the outside. It might be a lot different than what you thought it was.

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When the Customer isn’t Happy, Say Goodbye – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Got Print.

Got Print is a printing company that someone had referred me to. We’re always looking for a new company with a better quality product, so I definitely wanted to try this company out. The person who referred us printed their business card there and I liked what I saw.

I went through my usual design and ordering process and received two emails; one saying my order was submitted and another saying it was approved and they didn’t rip us off for shipping. Reasonable all around.

Then the postcards, eventually, showed up. The printing process seemed long. When we opened the package, every single one of the postcards was warped. The postcards are representing us when we mail and hand them out. So I thought I would email the company and advise them of this, and also ask why this happened. Since all of our postcards are for events, we didn’t have time to reorder these cards.

I had to email them twice to finally get an answer. The answer we received was this is normal and there’s nothing we can do about this. Here is their full email:


We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please be advised that the bending you notice in the paper is normal and can sometimes occur. Please note that this is just the behavior of the paper and cannot be controlled. Note that this issue may occur once in a hundred orders.

If you wish we can provide you with a discount code. Please let us know how you would like to proceed by creating a new problem message under this order.

Once again we apologize if this issue is causing you any inconvenience.

If you have any further questions, please log into your account, click on the order status and create a new problem email.

Thank you,
Quality Control

Generic, no name at the end, just signed “Quality Control” and this answer did not help me, it left me scratching my head. They were nice in the email and they did offer me a discount, but I think the problem is bigger than a discount. I will never use this company again, and if it does happen every hundred orders, maybe there needs to be a change in equipment/card stock or something. I don’t know about the printing process but I’ve never had this issue with any other company.

If this is a reoccurring issue with a bend or warp in the card stock, isn’t that why you have quality control?

Lesson Learned: As an owner, you need to know what people are unhappy about, whether it is service or product. Otherwise, the problem will be constant and you will lose paying customers. I’m sure that this was not the owner that replied to me, because I feel like it would have been dealt with differently. Have a feedback system that you look at, it can simply be a survey after they receive their order like Next Day Flyers did and make sure there is follow up. Read Next Day Flyers Smart Marketing Move here. 

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