In the Corporate World, Is Bigger Badder?
Without missing a beat, the Williams-Sonoma rep promised to take four immediate actions:
1. He promised to reassemble the order and overnight it via FedEx for delivery the following day.
2. Included in the order would be postage-paid merchandise return labels. When the original order drifted in, Don and Betts merely had to slap them on the boxes and call FedEx to take them away.
3. All shipping charges would be forgiven, a saving, Don figured, of about $150 (two shipments plus one return shipment).
4. Finally, as a reward for their patience, Don and Betts would receive a thank-you gift.
Don hung up feeling good about Williams-Sonoma. He and Betts felt a lot better when the order showed up the next day along with the merchandise return labels and the promised gift--a handsome glass turkey baster with a big blue rubber bulb.
"Often it is only in times of disaster that you can show your customers how much you really love them," direct marketing guru Malcolm Decker said.
The Nastiness of American Express
I have been an American Express card member since 1964. One year when Peggy and I were running Target Marketing magazine and scurrying around the country drumming up stories and ads (and taking an exotic African safari with the Bronx Zoo), I opened my year-end platinum card accounting and found we had spent an eye-popping sum.
Several years ago, Peggy got a corporate American Express card so she could keep her business expenses separate from our personal stuff. Last week, her corporate accounting office called to say she had missed an American Express payment of $35. Not true, she said. She was sure she was paid up. On examining the bill, she was indeed paid up.
She called American Express and was shunted to a telephone rep with a foreign accent. When Peggy tried to ask him to look at the bill with her and explain where the $35 charge was, he simply repeated over and over again, "You owe American Express $35, and you must pay it at once." When she tried to ask a question, he repeated his threat. And repeated it again.