Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Site Offers Insight into Customer Minds

There’s a new Web site that gathers stories about customer service nightmares, legal fine print, marketing deception, and broken promises. If you want to understand what kinds of customer service and marketing practices drive customers and prospects crazy, take a look.

I’m thinking that this could be a really good resource for getting into the consumer mind-set. Obviously, there will be some garden variety cranks showing up with comedy routines, a la “what’s the deal with airplane food.” However, I suspect that they’ll be gathering some good stories that honestly uncover the real nonsense that goes at some companies.

How does this apply to eBay? Well, you’re in the customer service business if you sell on eBay. Your shipping terms, payment terms, description tone, restrictions/legalese and more all have an effect on prospective buyers and bidders who’ve already won the item. All this stuff impacts your future ability to gain market share and build biz.

While you’re checking out the hogwash site, take a look at the ads that run on their pages. Pretty savvy marketing if I don’t say so myself. The site is sort of a blog that produces stories about how customers are getting hosed (and the content is provided by readers, BTW). Then they turn around and promote advertisers whose sole “brand” or marketing concept is to provide service that counters those trends. The example I’m seeing today is their ad for SunRocket, “The No Gotcha Phone Company.” This is a nice little business model. We’ll see if it works.

P.S. Amazon.com knocked 32% off the cover price of "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Walmart.com sells if for 36% off!

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