It’s been a disappointing April, at least so far.
Early this morning I found out that a new client, Ms. B. Rabbit, has decided to discontinue using my marketing planning and strategic business coaching services, in lieu of an old-school, traditional branding campaign from Scott Thompson PR.
Normally I wouldn’t disclose such matters here, but this one hits me where it hurts. In fact, I had my intern Alice (She’s here for Spring Break)Â call her to make an appointment. When school’s in session, she works part-time at a place called Wonderland Hats and I hear that most of her customers are angry, kind of snobby folks. I figured she had the perfect customer service experience to deal with Ms. Rabbit.
Her phone call didn’t get me far. It turned out that she was way too upset to meet me (I sometimes have that effect on women). We used to have our strategic conversations in her lovely outdoor office, but not this time. It’s a beautiful outdoor setting in the grass behind her office, complete with wicker chairs and a little basket of treats.
Instead, she asked Alice to drop by his place to pick up a package. Alice returned to my office carrying a prepared statement (???) from our newly-lost client:
“The fact that Mark holds me accountable, asks me to strategically market my stuff to just the right people, and expects my marketing to produce quantifiable results is just something no one has ever done for me. Quite frankly, I’m tired of his questions about my business, my customers and my products. I just want to go back to the good old days when I could sit around all day playing Farmville and wait for the phone to ring. Back then, I didn’t have all this business improvement stuff to do, I could just write a check to any old ad salesperson who came in the door be done with it. Sure, I didn’t know what worked and what didn’t, or if anything worked for that matter; but at least I had more time to work on those cool, fancy-colored Farmville eggs. All the stuff Mark had me doing not only has taken up all my spare work time with actual paying customer work, it’s started to eat into my new project time as well. Thankfully, I’m back to working on a new product for the German restaurant market.“
In a follow up call to Rabbit’s private underground lair (she’s very much into green energy), her rant continued: “That Riffey character always talked about making your business more engaging, more personal, getting inside your customer’s head and knowing their wants, needs and tastes better than anyone – and then using that information to make the most effective offer to them. Once, his behavior was really inappropriate. He started *nibbling* on my ears. I’m just not that kind of girl. I mean, if he can’t tell the difference between me and that annoying Cadbury woman and that ridiculous clucking she does, he needs to find another kind of work.”
UPDATE: I tried calling her personally to apologize for the misunderstanding and make amends, but she snapped “You *know* this is my busiest weekend of the year…LEAVE ME ALONE!!!” and hung up. I didn’t even have a chance to tell her to have a good Friday.