Corporate Accessibility & More

I received John DiJulius’ Secret Service newsletter (archive here) today and the main topic was accessibility. He talks about companies that make it very hard (if not impossible) to get in touch with senior managers or executives.

He cites an example of a local car dealership – there is a red phone in the middle of the showroom with a sign that says the phone goes directly to the dealership’s owner. John says this provides peace of mind and a “Zero Risk comfort” in doing business with the company. I agree that it does both of those things.

A word of advise, though, and this could be a little debate between customer service people, but I personally find the concept of having a line that goes directly to the company’s owner, president, CEO, etc. is an idea that many customers won’t take seriously. I believe a sign that says “If you aren’t happy, ask someone to speak to the manger. He’s available.” would be more effective. it doesn’t pressure the chief executive as much and many customers find it to be more realistic.

This comes up with almost every client I talk to. Many believe that having a direct line to them (as the CEO) will help give customers confidence. I can see their reasoning, but I believe that many customers are cynical about it. As a customer, what do you think?

John also linked to a blog post by Mark Cuban about connecting to your customers. The article is an interesting read and worth checking it out. In it, he cites some quotes that I like:

  • You have to re-earn your customers’ business every day.
  • One from Yahoo (Mark asked what Yahoo stood for) and someone said: You Always Have Other Options

Mark tells about how he often sits in seats that are available to general public when his basketball team (the Mavericks) plays. That way, he knows and can receive firsthand feedback about any problems.

He says that executives who travel in big groups, have everything pre-arranged, etc. probably are not confident about their products or services. When you contact them, they respond with forms or assistants (if they bother to reply at all). This definitely makes sense and is an interesting. Mark cares about customer service and tries to make himself accessible. He admits that no one is perfect, but knows that executives who don’t listen to customers won’t do as well as they can. A lot of CEOs and executives could learn from him and his ideas.