It’s not the most attractive image, I know. But I got up from the table with something stuck in my teeth. I walked through the dining room to the front counter, looking for the little cup filled with toothpicks. I circled the front desk and reception area a few times before I gave up and asked the young woman behind the counter if they had toothpicks. “Of course we do,“ she answered, clearly bored with my question. “They’re right here.“ With that, she bent down and brought the little wine glass full of toothpicks out from underneath the counter.
“You hide the toothpicks?” I asked. “Why? Do your customers keep stealing them?”
“No.” Eyeroll. “They keep knocking them over.”
“Why don’t you just put them in a container they can’t knock over?”
She shrugged, making it crystal clear she’d already spent way too much time on such stupidity.
I ordered a new iPhone two months ago. When it arrived, I put the old one in the box and mailed it back. Last night I got a text message from AT&T that said:
“AT&T Free Msg: We didn’t receive your previous device by 07/30/18. You will see a charge of for your iPhone 7 on your next wireless bill. If it has been returned, please contact us at 800.331.0500. Thanks for choosing AT&T.”
Of course, I called. I navigated my way through their automatic system and wait in their queue. When I was finally connected to a human being, the young woman who answered my call told me I was being charged because they never received the phone.
“But I returned it,” I said.
“We have no record of that,” she responded.
“And I have no record of you not receiving it.”
We were on the phone so I couldn’t see her shrug but I know she did.
“You say you sent it back?”
“You say you sent it back in the same box the new phone arrived in?”
The back and forth went on like this for a while. My call was “expedited” to one supervisor and then another. After a couple of hours later we checked the serial number and my service representative figured out that they had misentered the number and that my phone had, in fact, been returned.
AT&T got their phone back. I’ll never get my time back.
Fixing these problems is what having an All About Them brand is all about. I wrote the book on how to create brands and customer service that puts your customers first because that’s where emotional connectivity and long-term customer adhesion are created.
From toothpicks to iPhones to whatever it is you provide, building an All About Them brand creates the special sauce that puts a smile on your customer’s face and a buck in your pocket.