Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lack of Service in Direct Marketing Industry

A forewarning--I'm grumpy today. Get ready for a rant.

It's not the holiday blues; nothing bad going on in my personal life. No. Today, my beef is with my own beloved industry, Direct Marketing, and the companies that service this industry. Is it only me, or has customer service from large corporations gone down-hill?

This week has been a doozy. One firm (not to mention any names, but it is a large consumer credit bureau) has decided to pull the rug out from under us, change sales reps midstream while we're in the midst of a large project. To make matters worse, they're throwing more contracts at us and we fear that they plan on increasing our price for data that we have already sold to the client (at the lower price). How is that the right way to treat a customer?

Here's another example: Another vendor (a huge player in the DM industry) sees RRW as a competitive threat as opposed to a client. We're spending serious money with them on behalf of our clients. Yet, we have a difficult time in getting them to deliver what they promise or even provide information that will enable us to more effectively sell their products and services. It's always a battle -- and it's the oddest thing, it makes absolutely no sense.

Overall, we see sales reps who don't seem to care about their clients (or their employers, for that matter). We see senior managers that are WAY too far away from the customer and more worried about pleasing their boss. We see that anytime we want to purchase something that is not generic, or 'off-the-shelf'--something that we need to customize, we run into problems. Employees of these large firms are apathetic; they don't want to take the time and they don't seem to want to make the sale.

Is it just us, or is this something that you're seeing out there? We'd love to hear your battles and stories.


Nancy Arter said...

I'm not sure how couth it is to comment to your own blog, but here goes anyway . . .

In a world where WOM is increasingly important (as pointed out in yesterday's post), these large companies are really missing the boat. Although, you could argue that they are creating WOM -- however, not in a very positive way. I fear that this is the rule rather than the exception. Bah Humbug!

Ted Grigg said...

What you are experiencing is par for the course.

The way I deal with it is simply go to the top of the heap until I get action.

This does make the lower level people uncomfortable when it happens, but the higher level the boss operates in, the easier it gets.

Employees tend to fear the big boss more than they fear losing the client (as you suggested).

I know that's a tough assessment. But in some companies, that tends to happen a lot.

I have found that the C-level executives really want you to win so they can too.

Most of them are appalled by what has happened and will take immediate action.

They simply assign another group or division better suited to the project. And boy do they get hopping.

Good luck in correcting the situation.