Bad customer service is bad for business

By | December 10, 2007

Shortly after I went after Sprint for horrendously bad customer service, their CEO stepped down as the company was about to announce yet another bad quarter.

Shortly after I went after Motorola for horrendously bad customer service and deceptive marketing, their CEO was replaced after the company announced another bad quarter.

This is not coincidence.

What Sprint’s and Motorola’s leadership don’t seem to understand is that having good marketing or even good products is only the bare minimum; it’s where you start building success, not where you achieve it. The way you sustain a business and make money in the long term is by keeping your customers and the way you keep customers is by making them happy. To paraphrase Harry Sanders, good customer service isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.

Let me take this opportunity to once again say how happy I’ve been with the customer service I’ve received from Cingular, and from AT&T since their merger. Their customer service representatives have been consistently helpful and competent, and they’ve solved every issue about which I’ve had to contact them. It is, literally, a pleasure to do business with them.

AT&T’s stock is up around 7% in the past year. Motorola’s is down 22%, and Sprint’s is down 20%. Is anybody at Motorola and Sprint paying attention?

I’d also like to take this opportunity to plug an excellent book by Jeffrey Gitomer, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, which is the best explanation I’ve ever seen for why great customer service is so important and any company whose management doesn’t understand and act on this fact every single day is being run by idiots.

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One thought on “Bad customer service is bad for business

  1. Carolyn

    I think you should use this post as the web address in any customer service complaints you send on-line.

    Maybe they’ll think you’re dangerous!

    I’ve spent much of the last week bouncing between call center hold and trying to resist banging the telephone receiver on my kitchen counter in frustration. I feel your pain.

    (I’m currently dealing with a medical insurance mistake, multiple recurring intermittent telephone service interruptions, a broken machine that had a half-ounce gear stripped – but customer service made me send in the entire 65lb. machine back to them – at my expense – rather than just shipping me the stupid gear – in order to honor their “lifetime warranty”, and a broken heater that’s also covered under warranty – so I’ll “just” have to pay for the labor and plumbing required for them to replace it for “free”. AAAAARGH.)


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