I find it really interesting that some carpet cleaning and restoration companies will spend thousands of dollars in order to get new customers, but when they have them, they don''t know what to do with them.
And some huge corporations will spend millions of dollars to get new customers, yet they are clueless on what it takes to make their new customers happy and what it takes to keep them long-term.
I had a recent experience that really drove this point home. I know some of you are starting to think I make this stuff up, but I don''t. It doesn''t take much effort to find bad service out there.
My experience was with my mobile telephone provider. I''ve been a loyal customer of this particular provider for many years, so I won''t name the company, but let''s say they weren''t quick to sprint to my aid when I needed some help.
I was having some trouble with my wireless Internet card; you know, that little device that plugs into your laptop and, for about $60 a month for the rest of your life, you have reliable online access, from virtually anywhere in the country.
So I go to the local store I have done business with for years, and presented my problem. I was told I would have to take my device across town to a "service center." I mentioned that I didn''t want to go across town, and that I''ve been thinking of going with a "hotspot" device instead of the type that plugs into my computer.
Basically, I was willing to sign another three-year contract, which is normal anytime you upgrade or buy new mobile equipment. My monthly bill with this company has been a steady $225 per month for years, since I have two mobile phones and the aircard on the account.
I was told, "Well, you aren''t up for an upgrade for another year or so." I said, "That''s OK, I just want to do something to fix this problem; do you have any hotspot devices?"
Translation: "I''m willing to spend more money with you, just fix my problem, please. Here is my credit card."
And the clerk (I think it was really the store manager) said, "I don''t think we can help you today." Those were words I didn''t really understand, because when I was running my own carpet cleaning and restoration company, I fixed each and every one of my customer''s problems.
Frustrated, I said, "Well, I''ve been thinking about going over to your competition because I think they have what I need."
The clerk/store manager said, "OK."
So I walked out, called the main number for my mobile telephone provider, and said to shut it all down.
Now my wife and I have new mobile phones and I have my new wireless hotspot.
Some of you might think it wasn''t fair of me to threaten going to another provider, but you had to be there and see the expression and attitude of the clerk/manager. I went there for a solution and had my credit card ready… but despite the millions of dollars that company spends to get new customers, they don''t necessarily know how to keep them.
Uh, oh… I guess I''m out of space to share some practical advice here, since I took up this entire page with my complaint. Next month, I will present some rocket-science information on how to keep your customers happy and stay with you — for as long as you want them.
Please send your comments, thoughts or article ideas to Jeff Cross, senior editor of Cleanfax magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org.