This may seem to be a nit... a picky complaint… but there is a lesson here.
I like my dry cleaning service. They pick up from my house and they return the clothes a couple of days later. They charge my credit card and when they make a mistake (like when they wrecked a pair of pants) they include a note and offer compensation.
In general, this “invisible service” works pretty well; until it doesn’t. I say invisible, because I never have any personal interaction with them. Just notes back and forth.
Like most cleaners, if they discover a broken button on a shirt, they will fix it. And if they didn’t tell me about, I wouldn’t notice (they put those little tags in the button holes that say “button replaced”). This morning, the shirt I grabbed to put on had one of those tags. And I thought great. Glad they did that. I appreciate the service. And it wasn’t until I buttoned down the collar that I realized the button they replaced was on the collar and that they had used the wrong size button (and you know this because collar buttons are smaller and when it doesn’t go through the hole easily, its pretty obvious).
My appreciation turn to annoyance. Yes, it is just one of those daily “things”, but one that has a twist. Because they offer an invisible service, I had no idea how to tell them about this other than writing a note (which seems like a lot of effort for wrong sized button). And I am not sure what to even say in the note. And of course, this got me thinking about marketing and customer service.
I could send them an email – it’s faster – but I don’t have an email address for them. I could call them, but I don’t even know the company name, let alone the phone number. Wait you say… how do you not know their name? Crazy isn’t it? I leave $200-$300 of clothing on my porch. Someone picks them up, cleans them and returns them, and I don’t even know who it is.
Actually, I did once know. When I signed up with them, I knew all this contact info. And if I dig around in my files, I can probably find it again. And this is the lesson.
I am a customer. I pay them. Yet they do no marketing to me. I don’t hear from them in anyway other than the notes in my returned clothes, and that is usually just the handwritten receipt. I told you I liked them, but I can’t tell you their name or refer them.
We are all really busy in our personal and business lives. If you run or market a business, remember that your customers are as busy as you. You have to keep communicating – in different ways. Open different pathways. If you are primarily offline – go online, and vice-versa. Odds are if you aren’t doing a good job of keeping open communication channels you are missing on opportunities to learn about your customers, learn about your business performance and leaving the door open for your competitors.
Being invisible is a superpower, but not one you want your business to have.