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Pity the fool who doesn’t communicate

Over the last week or so, I’ve hunkered down in the perfect storm of communications.


I get a card in the mail asking me if the recent visit by a Bresnan Cable tech took care of the problem and if I was happy with the service. It’s the same guy who always comes to work on my cable issues. Treats you like a relative, even if he does sometimes have to come back more than once now and then. I wonder if they intentionally send the same guy. Smart if done on purpose (assuming the guy isn’t a bozo<g>).

Usually when I see him more than once in a week – it’s because cable boxes in general are just poorly made hardware commodities that fixing one thing exposes another thing (but later, of course<g>). But…that isn’t his fault.

Movie Gallery

During Thanksgiving week, my kids went up to Movie Gallery to pick up a DVD. My account was in lockdown. That was their terminology for it – ushers up nice images of Shawshank, doesn’t it?

Lockdown apparently occurs when you don’t return a movie for 3 weeks, I guess.

So my kids use their own account instead of mine and I later go up there – after finding the movie – to ask what the deal is. Turns out I’ve had the movie for 26 days (yes, it was a 3 day rental<g>).

Ok, my bad. However, I wondered where the reminder postcard was. Where’s the phone call asking where the heck I put the video?


I’d had the movie for a month – without a single call, email, postcard, carrier pigeon, etc.

Folks, as we talked in role reversal last week – look at things from your customer’s point of view. Late fees are not good. Why else would people agree to wait for movies by mail?

Before I left, I asked the clerk what the deal is with no notifications. They don’t mail anymore. Costs too much (what she was told – vs “Earns too much in late fees”?).

I ask why I wasn’t called. For years, they’ve been good about calling, even if it is after the movie is late.

Why don’t they send text messages 2-3-4 hours before they close in order to remind people about the almost-late movie that’s . Seems obvious that they want them to be late. “Late” might be legit / intentional, so why not let it slide.

Because it isn’t in the best interest of the CUSTOMER. “Pity the fools”, as Mr. T would say.

Her reply regarding the calls. “We can’t make the calls anymore. Corporate does that now, they have some kind of automated system…. but some people never get called. It doesn’t work too well.”

Repeat after me…Business is Personal. Think like the customer.

Wells Fargo

We’ll close with a little bit of good news.

I use Wells Fargo for a bunch of stuff.

I got a live call from a lady working for Wells 2 weeks ago. She called simply to “make sure we were doing ok”.

I said “Sure, why do you ask?”

She says (paraphrased, it’s been a week or so), “Well, a lot of people are struggling with their mortgages and stuff, so we’re calling all of our customers to check on them even if they aren’t late. If they’re having some problems and they haven’t told us yet, it gives us a chance to help them figure out a solution before things get worse for them.”


They may be a big lumbering megalith, but someone there really gets it. Yeah, I know. It’s a little self-serving on their part, but the positioning of the call is smart.

Making the call before it has to be made (even if it might never have to be made), that’s the brilliant part.


4 replies on “Pity the fool who doesn’t communicate”

Why don’t you return your damn movie and don’t have to rant about a company because you f’d up. Make them look bad because it’s YOUR job to return a movie. I hate people like you. Silly customers, silly, silly customers.

Well yoyoG,

You’re right, it is my job to return the movie.

It’s also my job to choose to do business with people and businesses that have their customers best interests at heart.

Those silly customers like myself are the ones who keep your payroll check from bouncing. The longer you continue to think of them as silly silly people that you hate – the lower your check will be in the long run.

Since we’re talking about jobs, part of their job is to maximize the value of their customers and their assets – including that movie. So let’s do a little math.

My late fee was $12 for 26 days.

Their normal rental fee is $3.99 if I remember correctly. It sure isn’t less than that. In 26 days, there are EIGHT 3 day periods, plus part of another. So that’s NINE rentals they might have missed out on for that asset.

Total value: about $36, or $24 less than my late fee.

By not contacting me early and often, their worst case loss was about $24 on that SINGLE rental. Not counting anyone else that happened to, not counting their future loss of business from someone torqued about their change of behavior (remember, they used to send mail and make calls).

Yet *I’m* the silly one…

“I hate people like you. Silly customers, silly silly customers…”

Yikes. With this kinda mindset, YoYoG, ever ask yourself if this is WHY people don’t do business with you?

Nice post, Mark. I’m with you. When you’re looking for ways to “stick it” to your customers (i.e. encourage late fees), you’re gonna end up with a whole lot fewer of them.

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