Dealing With Customer Misery - Part 2
Over the years, the club director kept a list of the various materials that were to accompany the premium books. The shipping department was periodically told to omit this and insert that. But nobody ever checked to see how the box was packed. What did the new member see first? How were the pieces folded?
When the carton was opened, the first thing we saw was a flier offering remaindered books at deep discounts. Next came the M-G-M—member-get-a-member effort ("Tell a friend how much you love this book club and persuade him to join in return for free introductory free books for the friend and a thank-you gift for yourself.")
The next element was the two-page welcome letter, but page 2 with the club director's signature was face up. And the final piece was the instruction manual describing how the club worked—the nitty-gritty of the negative option scheme, the mechanics of returning unwanted books and the bonus program of free books for every book the member bought.
The shipping department had faithfully executed its instructions by inserting the right elements, but for the new member it was just plain confusing. Sloppy marketing.
Museum Customer Relationship Misery
In Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum are six iconic paintings—four by Vermeer and two Rembrandts that I had waited all my life to see—plus a slew of other stunners by Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Pieter de Hooch.
When we were there in April, vast areas of the Rijksmuseum were closed off for renovations. As a result, crowds of visitors were funneled into relatively few rooms. We bought tickets—14 euros plus another 5 euros for the audio guides for a total of US$25 each—and went inside. With lunch it was a $100 afternoon.
I had my little digital camera with me, but assumed photography was not allowed. Silly moi! In front of every exhibit, clusters of tourists had their noses pressed against the bright little rectangles of light emanating from their cameras, jostling for position and happily clicking away. Unlike the old days of point-and-shoot film technology, digital mavens study the picture they just took, frequently delete it and snap it again ... and again.