Treating Your Customers Right

Jun 14, 2008

Aaron Ramsey, holding up his new Arsenal shirtAaron Ramsey, the most sought after teenager in England, has signed for Arsenal. He was expected to sign for Manchester United, and to be honest, even I didn’t think Arsenal would get him. But in the end, he chose to come to Arsenal. Why? Because Arsenal treated him well.

Manchester United sent their captain, Gary Neville, to meet Ramsey and his family. Ramsey and his family had apparently wanted to speak to the management about his future, but didn’t get the chance. Arsenal, on the other hand, flew him first class on a private jet to Switzerland to meet Wenger (because Wenger was working there). Wenger talked to him, and answered any questions he and his family had, for over 2 hours, and convinced him that Arsenal was a better fit to his style.

Arsenal might not have won as much as Manchester United, the current champions of the Premier League and Champions League, in recent years. They might not have the fan base or financial strength of Manchester United. I hate to admit this as an Arsenal fan, but on paper, Arsenal may not be considered as good a club as Manchester United.

But they treated Aaron Ramsey better. They talked to him openly, addressed whatever questions he had honestly. And they proved that they were better for him. Arsenal might not be the better club, but they were the better club for him, and that’

There’s a great lesson in customer service here. Treat your customers (both prospective and current) as well as you can, no matter who they are. Talk to them openly and honestly, and listen. Provide what is best for them personally, make it as personalized and unique to them as possible.

Do that – treat your customers right – and they are more likely to come to you.

Are you providing first class service to your customers – are you treating your customers right?

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Don’t Lie

Mar 17, 2008

Undercover Black Man criticized (actually, ‘criticized’ is an understatement) Margaret Seltzer for her book “Love and Consequences”.

Using the pseudonym “Margaret B. Jones”, she wrote that she was half-white, half-native American, and raised by a black foster mom. She wrote what was supposedly a personal story about how she used to be involved in gangs and drugs until she turned her life around.

The book got good reviews from the press and critics, until it was discovered that the whole story was fiction. And that’s where Undercover Black Man (among others, I’m sure) picked it up and lambasted her for lying.

The thing is, she could have avoided all this by stating up front that it was a fiction book. Maybe she thought it wouldn’t have had as powerful effect. But there’s nothing wrong with a powerful, moving, fictional story.

By passing it off as a true personal memoir, she lied. And it’s cost her. Her book has been recalled, and no doubt her reputation (as well as the publisher’s) has been shot.

The whole fiasco just goes to show how important honesty and authenticity is. Edgar J. Mohn once said “A lie has speed, but truth has endurance.” In today’s world, that’s even more true, I think.

With the connectivity of the internet, you can’t hide anything forever. Sooner or later (most of the time, sooner), you’ll be found out. And with the power of the internet, where everyone’s voice is amplified, that lie can cause you more damage than ever.