Advertising agencies have been known to take their clients for granted. They believe that since their clients are usually not marketing experts, and are busy operating their businesses, they are somehow less inclined to evaluate agency performance or consider a change. We get too comfortable, thinking they wouldn’t want to have to bring someone else up to speed, learning about their business.
Obviously a very smug and dangerous assumption. In this day and age, everything is assessed constantly. Regardless of the industry, or the lack of sophistication of your clients, if you don’t serve them as well as you once did, someone else will get the chance.
Lately, I’ve seen a barrage of articles and blog posts relating instances of terrible customer service in both B2C and B2B marketing arenas. So I’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate the customer service I received from a company with customers on both sides of that fence.
In March of 2006, I judged a District Addy Awards competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. And as a thank-you gift, the host Ad Club gave each judge three $25 gift certificates to Omaha Steaks, and a catalog of items from which to choose. Nice gesture, nice local connection.
But months passed, and I should admit that you are not likely to find my picture in the dictionary next to “organized.” So of course, I misplaced those certificates. They turned up periodically, but always when I was looking for something else, so they quickly disappeared again.
Eventually, March 2007 came and went. I thought of the steaks, and was disgusted with myself. I assumed the certificates had probably expired. In these days of gift cards that lose value for no good reason, I was not optimistic. And I still couldn’t find the certificates anyway!
But a couple weeks later, I received an E-mail at my office. It was from Omaha Steaks, basically saying, “Gee, you have these three certificates to redeem; here are the ID numbers. If you’d like to redeem them on line, just click here.”
I was stunned. My hosts had apparently provided my E-mail address when ordering. And instead of smirking at another missed redemption and “pocketing” the money, The folks at Omaha Steaks went out of their way to contact me about it. And in the process, they even made it possible for me to use the certificates without even actually finding them.
I hadn’t previously given much consideration to sending steaks as a holiday or thank-you gift, business or personal. But I find myself looking for opportunities to do so now, as my way of expressing appreciation to Omaha Steaks for great service.
As for the steaks, they’re not faring much better than the certificates. I wonder just how long they keep in the freezer, anyway…