Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Danger of Treating your customers like Crap

From the Content Marketing Blog:

The Huge Marketing Reality That EMBARQ Forgot

Posted: 12 Mar 2009 04:31 PM PDT

If you really show the love to your current customers, you won’t have to beg shamelessly to try to get them back.

Embarq Corporation

Image via Wikipedia

Just like the Swiffer, “Baby, come back” TV ads, once you’ve lost your long-time customers, you may have to forget about getting them back–even if you send them flowers or sing under their window.

EMBARQ basically failed the in person content marketing test. They completely forgot the vital importance of your people to people relationships.

For many years in our part of the world, Southwest Florida, EMBARQ offered solid reliable phone service that originally ran under the Sprint banner. But, over the past six months or so, we ran into lots of annoying problems.

When we called them, rather than taking a proactive approach to figuring out what was wrong and fixing it, they suggested that we must be doing something wrong. They insisted that we go through all kinds of gyrations to test it out and warned us that–although they could send out a service person–they would have to charge us if it turned out that the fault was ours.

We were never able to solve the problem and were convinced that the issue was external to our house. Of course, EMBARQ would never take the rap.

So, we switched to Vonage, which is now happily looking after our business and our home lines. We save money for standard phone service. We have more features. We get e-mail notifications of voicemail. North American long-distance is free.

Now that we are ex-customers, EMBARQ is making a valiant, but hopeless direct marketing effort to get us back. Here’s what they sent to us inside an almost hand-addressed envelope with a real stamp:

embarq direct mail dog pic

They went for incredibly cute, but it’s just too late. Baby, we won’t come back. We’ve moved on just like the new Swiffer aficionados. If EMBARQ had just spent a little quality time with us while we were customers, they wouldn’t have to spend big direct marketing bucks to try to get us back.

The lesson for all of us: Take very good care of your current customers. Once you lose them,they are most likely gone for good.

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