Where Has All the Service Gone?
I know I'm not alone here. You call a list manager for information. You leave a voice mail. Hopefully, they call you back. More than likely, they don't, and you have to call them again and again until you finally get a hold of someone who has to call you back with information—which scares you to death because you are sure you will never hear from them again.
Whether it's regarding order receipt, shipping or counts, brokers are at the mercy of management divisions around the world. And there stands my plea: If managers and customer service folks could just follow these five simple rules (slightly borrowed from Toltec wisdom), we would be a much more productive and happier industry.
1. Call People Back. So easy, yet so neglected. Even if you don't have the information you absolutely promised to deliver, just call to say you still don't have it. The act of calling without the information is much better than not calling at all.
Calling equals caring: Brokers want to know you're on top of their orders, or whatever the issue is at hand. I can't stress this one enough—its abusers start from the shipping person and continue right on up to the president! I believe calling people back would cure 85 percent of all the ulcers caused by this industry.
2. Be Accurate. Don't make assumptions—it leads to misunderstandings.
A little attention goes a long way here. Read the orders. Is the quantity way off? Are there special instructions that need to be addressed? Is the pricing correct? Nobody likes to find out at the last minute that the ZIP tape isn't there, or that the hotline count is not what was requested.
Also, when brokers are calling for counts, go to a little trouble to project accurately. This may mean a call to the list owner to find out the projected mail plans or changes in the mail/insertion schedule. Knowledge is power—and the more you get from the list owner, the better information you can deliver to your clients.