Focus on what you can control in 2012.

Posted by John Park on Jan 2nd, 2012
Jan 2

Movie ticket sales hit a 16-year low in 2011. The theater industry attributes higher prices and the prevalence of new platforms to view movies.


I certainly believe this is true and I am certain that these factors played a key role.


However, I was surprised to learn that the industry did not mention what role customer service may have played in this outcome. To be specific, I am referring to the lack of or declining customer service in movie theaters. Civilized decorum and the almost cliche concept of “Silence is Golden” has become increasingly absent in the theaters. It is common to find crying babies, people using their phones, disruptive or obnoxious behavior. And, I am not even mentioning those who love to kick the chairs of the persons in front of them or those who use the theater floors as their personal trash cans leaving the auditoriums in a disgusting state. If you spend more than 5 minutes reading online reviews about movie theaters, it’s clear that I am not the only one who feels this way.


This is another example of an industry using the economy as a scapegoat. Customer service is the one area of any business that can be transformed instantly. Best of all, it can be transformed without a heavy financial investment. Examples include answering the phones a certain way or just saying “Thank You” properly.


There is nothing you can do about the economy. It is what it is. Instead of using it as a crutch for poor results in 2012, focus on what you can control. You have 100% control of customer service.


I say… bring back the ushers with the flashlights.





Being Busy Does Not Excuse Poor Service

Posted by John Park on Jul 11th, 2010
Jul 11

Why do businesses want you to excuse them for poor service when they are busy?  Is this okay for the customers?
Restaurants are notorious for this business practice.  When they get busy, they ask you to wait longer for just about everything including a table, a server, food, the check, water, drinks, etc.  The terrible part of this business approach is that they know when they will be busy.  In certain industry segments in the retail consumer arena, the businesses know when they will be more busier than usual–down to the exact shift.  The expected busy day may include a special holiday like “Mother’s Day” or a self-imposed busy day like “Black Friday.”
Are they conditioning consumers to stay away on busy days because of an expectation of poor service and an overall unpleasant experience?  How many people do you know who will stay away at any cost when they expect a place of business to be busy?  With the prevalence of review sites like Yelp and retailers losing to online e-commerce web sites, business owners can’t expect consumers to just “deal with it” anymore.
What if on your busiest day, you gave all who’ve come an amazing and pleasant experience?  How many unpaid ambassadors would you create?
Being busy does not excuse poor service.
This is just another area where “business as usual” is no longer accepted.  Just ask AOL what happened when they didn’t take care of their customers when they were busy.
Until Next Time…

Why Evil Corporate Deeds Will Not Go Unpunished

Posted by John Park on Oct 19th, 2009
Oct 19

Bad economic conditions always lead to poor customer service.
Don’t ask me why this happens but it always does.  Whenever companies (mostly large ones) are faced with tighter budgets, the group that inevitably pays the price are their customers.  It can be an onerous return policy, a hike in fees or maybe headcount sacrifices in customer service departments.  Instead of a phone tree, you are faced with a “phone forest”.
This… I’ll screw them over now and deal with it later approach is not what it used to be.  It’s true that in the past consumers did forget eventually once the economy got humming again but it might be harder in this technological age to rely on this business practice.
Due to the prevalence of social media interaction on the web, it will be much harder for corporations to erase their evil deeds during this recession.  Blog posts, facebook groups, peer online reviews, tweets and archived online news articles are in essence… FOREVER.
The bottom line is that it always costs more to acquire new customers when compared to keeping and growing the customers you already have.  The next time you find yourself in a conference room discussing budget cuts and going through the line items, don’t reduce your customer service and don’t look to your existing customers for more fees.  After all, we are still living in a free economy where Capitalism prevails.  Your customers always have the option to leave you in an “Internet Minute”.

Until Next Time…

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Suddenly They’re Blind.

Posted by John Park on Aug 27th, 2009
Aug 27

As my readers know very well,  I am often writing about the good things happening in business.  However, in some cases, I have to bring to everyone’s attention a very bad thing happening in the business community.
So… as of today, I’ve decided to start a SHAME ON YOU BUSINESS category.
All of the businesses listed or mentioned in these postings are doing or have done something really STUPID to damage their brand and customer loyalty.  And more importantly, their acts are damaging small businesses and their owners—the people I fight for.  Sometimes these acts are illegal but most of the time, they are just unethical.  In most cases, it is just downright shameful.
Today’s winner is CHASE BANK.
There is a lot of negative consumer buzz on the Internet about what this bank has done lately.  After the 25 Billion bailout (our hard-earned tax money) and after they got a chance to buy WAMU for cheap from the FDIC when that bank went belly-up, this not so fine institution has decided to launch a series of tactics to increase their profits by levying new and unreasonable terms on their customers.
For the past several years, they have been one of the biggest marketers of low rate balance transfers.  These programs would promise you a low rate for the life of the loan as long as you transferred to them.  And as a result, millions of consumers did just that.
( The Shameful Act )
They recently adopted a policy to raise the minimum payment percentage from 2% to 5% of the balance on many of these same customers.  As you can imagine, balance transfer accounts have a higher balance because consumers and business owners were using these accounts to pay off or manage their debts during this recession.  And as a result, minimum payments will more than double for these people.  If a business owner carries a 15K balance, his or her minimum payment will go from $300 to $750 a month.  This is not easy to swallow for any small business owner during these hard times.
And when consumers complain, they say “sure you can keep the 2% minimum payment but we just have to raise your interest rate to a much higher rate.”
Wasn’t this once known as the “bait and switch?”
This just exemplifies again that in business… Just because you can do it legally doesn’t mean that you should.
( Some negative Internet BUZZ about Chase )
It’s kind of ironic their new ad campaign is based on the song “Suddenly I see“.  Clearly… they don’t SEE.
Shame on you CHASE!
Jul 8

When Time Magazine declared EVERYONE as their person of the year, they had many scratching their heads.  In reality, they were right on the money.  Their tribute to the way an average Joe could create content and empower themselves on the WWW was well deserved.  The flip side of all of this is that businesses must also be aware of the empowering mass media tools readily available to every customer they serve.

As of today, this video has been seen over 250,000 times.  I bet United Airlines wishes now that they had fixed or replaced the poor guy’s Taylor Guitar.  We’ve all been there but now we have free tools to let millions know about it.  Food for thought for all consumer brands.  Social and Viral Marketing needs to be taken seriously.  It’s not just a buzz phrase.  It is very serious business.

Until Next Time…

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