July 14, 2006
    how NOT to market or sell

Logoelis Our offices are on the 7th Floor of an office building in one of the main avenues in Lisbon. There are several predominant companies with strong ties to some of the largest companies in Portugal.

This morning, a sales person from Elis, a company that supplies “services to businesses and administrations”, walked into the reception of our office building and asked at security to visit all the offices. As the building has in the past suffered several security breaches and all those present have communicated that under no circumstances can people disrupt their working day, especially as one of the offices, which is a specialized recruitment company, conducts evaluation tests for some of the largest companies in the World.

The salesperson, who was identified, dismissed the security’s request and for half an hour tried to get through acting in a highly provocative manner. Security had to call the police and this was only resolved when two police cars arrived and the salesperson was asked to leave the premises – which he did.

You have to ask the question – not how much revenue did the salesperson from Elis accomplish from this visit; not how much this cost to Elis in salary terms, but more importantly what type of damage does an episode like this bring to a brand such as Elis.

Analyze the following: Ignore for now that I will use this as an example probably for the rest of my life as an example of WHAT not to do and the hundreds of people who are either decision makers or have close links to decision makers that will hear this as an example and then retell it when discussing an example of exceedingly POOR customer service.

Security guard works in a company that has hundreds of security staff that work in hundreds of office buildings. This will no doubt be a hot topic discussed for the next few days and passed on and passed on. Not intentionally, but because bad news travels quicker than good news and in this case, an unfortunate disadvantage to Elis, the security guard is female (and the salesperson male).

In turn, the next time that someone from Elis steps into the foyer of any office building serviced by the same security company, I doubt they will even be able to open their mouths. Those with Elis contracts in those office buildings will inevitably be retold this story. Not that that will persuade companies to switch service provider, but certainly next time Elis underperforms their customer’s tolerance may be that much smaller.

The security guard informed me, as she did to all other offices, fuming at the episode and all companies in the building will no doubt be retelling this story (again to the disadvantage of Elis that not only do they not know who’s talking about this but also when they will talk about it – a mere reference to Elis, the service they provide, their competition or any reference to poor service will bring about The Elis Story.

The companies will talk to companies who talk to companies. So what did the salesperson accomplish in 40 minutes? Incalculable damage. If you think I’m being dramatic, ask Comcast (nearly 700,000 views in 3 weeks) and AOL (nearly 300,000 views not to mention a special appearance on WNBC). Word of mouth is one of THE most powerful methods of unfiltered communication wrapped in trust & transparency presently associated to those you believe most – your friends & colleagues.

Luckily the video and audio footage from the security cameras is not available to anyone as it would no doubt have the hallmarks of a YouTube blockbuster, including police!

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in customer (dis)service ,viral marketing ,why do they do that?
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June 19, 2006
    still Nervous about blogS

Blog I'd always heard that great executives should always alocate 1-2 hours per day to read an get informed. The reality, is that like many, I was always TOO busy... But now there's NO excuse! You can now download NewsGator that runs in your Outlook 2003 - so if you aren't too busy for e-mails you can't be too busy for blogs. It's actually like tapping into the brains of all the people that could answer all your queries, all your fears and in the meantime you'll stumble across great ideas and sometimes quite inspiring stuff.

Blogging really kicks off when you start to interact with your consumers. We moved our web pages for Paradise Garage to the blog format and we jumped from 250 unique visits to over 1000 but the greatest move only started to take effect today as we replied to our first comments and not very favorable at that - but they were actually very tuned in. They should be - they are straight from our customers!

It's the beginning but it's all about gaining their trust and we've sat for hours looking at a comment wondering whether to remove it - once we had some basic rules - applied to life - opinios are fine, personal attacks not - it was easy. I was VERY surprised however to see these stats on the post in eMarketer.com titled "Executives Not Quite Hot to Blog".


Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in [marketing to] women ,bar & nightclub industry ,bits & bobs ,business strategy ,buzz marketing ,customer (dis)service ,design 2 reality ,dreaming events ,emotionally charged ,experiential mkt ,high moving stocks ,how we learn ,in paradise ,my thoughts ,people PEOPLE ,personal development ,players ,remarkable services ,small [enormous] truths ,smart marketing ,videos ,viral marketing ,why do they do that? ,youth marketing
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May 31, 2006
    food is important - flying is not

Nearly 9 thousand Europeans, of which 2100 were Portuguese, were surveyed during November and December 2005, in association with the Consumer Groups of Belgium, Spain, France, Holland and Italy and included a representative sample of the population that had travelled by air in the last 2 years.

Opinions were collected regaring 110 Airlines and 165 airports.

Guess what - TAP came in at number 53


You'd think someone would stop and think about this. It might even have an impact on their bottom line. I'm doing my bit - when ever I book a trip I only have one condition - no TAP!

What puzzles me is that even though they came in at number 53, 61.2% will recommend the airline (most probably to people they dislike) and 33% will most probably recommend TAP. Would these same pople recommend a restuarant that was considered mediocre? I think not. Conclusion food is important - flying is not.

Why I'm bitter

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in customer (dis)service
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April 18, 2006
    it's official: we are doomed!

We had a great idea - a great yet simple idea. We wanted to give our customers added value in our venue by adding Wi-Fi broadband. So, we decided to contact an ISP provider. We identified a company, that shall remain anonymous (rhymes with Twix), that is advertising a new broadband service. In return for their free service, we would provide publicity for them at the venue, in all our printed communication as well as all internet applications - we have a database with profile of over 80,000 users nation wide. Sounds fair, don't you agree?

I searched through our CRM application and found the marketing manager. First test: had we been able to maintain our CRM up-to-date? Well most companies fail at this but after one phone call, I realised that we were fully loaded and had all the right details. Imagine my surprise when the e-mail was returned. Another phone call later and I was at ease. We were in fact correct but should try an alternative e-mail as the person in question would return the following day.

When that e-mail was also returned, I decided to wait for the Easter Holidays to pass and asked someone from my team to contact him. She did so. But... he wasn't there. The assistant claimed he would be back in the afternoon but probably too late to be able to speak to anyone.

Plan B: we tried to get a different form of contact having exhausted the try the other e-mail or wait and resend it later - as if that is ever going to work. We insisted so much that she placed us on hold while she tried to figure out what was wrong with the e-mail. Five minutes she returned with the following bombastic explanation...

The person we were trying to contact (marketing manager!) was no longer with the company. In fact that person had left the company a while back! So... hold on. Wasn't he coming back later that afternoon?


Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in customer (dis)service ,why do they do that?
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March 31, 2006
    TAP rhymes with CRAP: coincidence?

Crap http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/tap.htm

I was actually not going to write anything else apart from CRAP. CRAP, CRAP CRAP. But that would be too easy so here goes.

TAP (subsidised or not - one of many questions) was never considered a great airline but it's what we had at a time when European airlines lagged in quality when compared to their Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, Asiatic, Australian and North American counterparts. Let's not dwell on the past and jump straight into now time.

When most airlines have struggled to remain afloat whilst constantly innovating and renovating and reinventing TAP has actually made a concertive effort to be just BAD. When a company gets it this wrong it's got to be a strategy to be the worst airline. I'm not against TAP - I am fed up with being treated badly and then spending my time writing to mindless idiots that reply with standard letters.

I was checking in to a Lisbon-Porto flight for a meeting with our main client who has offices in the north of Portugal. As I handed over my Business ticket to the expressionless TAP representative, to my surprise was informed of the fact that I was on standby in Economy!?! As I explained the lack of reasonableness in this I was met with the "what's on the screen overrides everything else policy blah blah blah". In the meantime Economy standby ticket holders were upgraded to Business. "But I have a business ticket - confirmed". "I'm sorry but that's not what I have". FCUK! I thought.

Whilst I come to terms with the fact that I am on standby in Economy with a Business ticket, a gentleman strolled up casually. He was confident - obviously not a seasoned TAP flyer. He explained that he had purchased his ticket over the phone using his visa card. "Can I have the receipt please..." I don't need to explain the remainder of the episode - It just got worst.

So I'm Mad that they don't switch the air on when you are on the tarmac, blare out classical music to distortion level, don't perform maintenance (have they ever been stuck on a Lisbon-Newark flight where the seat doesn't move an inch), never give out any information when the flights are delayed and best of all, last week when flights were cancelled owing to French Traffic Control strikes, they left their passengers (clients, brand advocates, etc.) to fend for themselves without accommodation or food. Their justification on the evening news was that as they were not responsible for the strikes in France they didn't feel obliged (obliged!!) to compensate (compensate!!!) their clients (clients!?!).

Does anyone know where TAP clients can leave their suggestions. Better still, has anyone ever had a problem resolved? I'm open to being converted - just show me the light. In the meantime I'll continue to write "NO TAP FLIGHTS" in all my e-mails to my travel agent.

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in customer (dis)service ,my thoughts
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