Belligerent Client Badgering and Selfish Robo-Dial Relationships.

Customer contact isn't the same as customer conversation.

Somehow we've confused messaging with attitudes that matter.

Like surly high-schoolers smirking at the back of the class, we smugly fire off our email marketing "drip campaign" to our lead list while pretending that means we've done our job caring about the "well -being" of those who could benefit from our services.

And it's all selfish nonsense.

It's us shouting over the needs of our buyers hoping that if we scream loud and long enough, they'll just shut up and buy something from us.

And if that's not bad enough.

We've decided that having "Belligerent Prospect Badgering" as a stage in our pipeline is too embarrassing.  So we make up new titles like "Prospect Nurturing" and "Marketing Maturation" and "Long Term Lead Cycle".

Right?

They all mean the same wonderful thing.  We're going to wallop the resolve out anyone not buying from us this quarter.  We're going to beat down any objection with our war of words.

But it doesn't stop there

We've started to demand customer loyalty.  Instead of creating an outrageous experience for our existing community, we've decided to take a shortcut.

We've created a technological travesty of massive proportions.

When customers get tired of our selfish attitudes and lack-luster performance, we badger them back into the fold.  And the tool du jour seems to be the robo-dialer.

Once relegated to the infamous dinner hour "switching to long-distance" sales pitch, the robo-dialer has risen from the ashes of sales tool obscurity to be repurposed as a customer retention platform.

It's annoying ahead of the sale and even worse after you've decided that you want out.

And in case you've forgotten how the robo-dialer works, let's review:

It all starts well.  Your phone rings from a non-800 number.  You think it's safe so you answer.  And instead of getting a head-set wearing attendant in some foreign country, you hear a message saying  something like "This is a message from ACME Corp.  Stay on the line to be connected to an operator".  And then you wait until an attendant picks up the line.  Most robo-dialers hang up if an operator hasn't picked up after ten minutes of you being on hold.

When you review, it sounds even more preposterous: You get a call asking you to wait so that someone can pitch you something that you're pretty darn sure you didn't want yesterday and even more sure you don't want tomorrow.

And it's not small, inexperienced companies doing this.

It's companies that should know better.

  • It's GoDaddy.com calling 22 days in a row to convince you not to let a series of domains expire you purposefully canceled.  The half-dozen unanswered emails and postcards they also sent weren't enough.
  • It's T-Mobile calling more than 47 times to ask why you canceled your service.  To then have you wait on hold for 10 minutes at which time the robo-dialer hangs up because you exceeded the maximum time allowable on hold.  You'll just wait for that 48th call tomorrow.
  • It's SiriusXM radio calling twice a day for 15 straight days to see why you no longer want their service on a receiver that you replaced with an app for your smartphone.

Has anyone stopped and asked, "What's the end game?"

Are robo-dialed ex-customers flocking madly back to our front doors demanding to do business with us?  Is sales aggravation strategy the new Viagra of customer loyalty programs?

How can we defend this type of activity?

What happened to putting in the effort to create an outrageously satisfied customer?

What happened to:

  1. Delivering on our promises
  2. Being on time and staying until the job is finished
  3. Apologizing when we make a mistake
  4. Assuming that the customer has good intensions
  5. Showing kindness even when we're having a bad day
  6. Making sure the client had their expectation blown away
  7. Caring about the success of others
  8. Planning on the lifetime value of customer satisfaction
  9. Asking our clients for feedback on ways we can improve.
  10. Going the extra mile to make our customers successful
  11. Treating others with respect and basic human dignitiy.

Is that era of doing business too far gone?

You can make it all about you.  Heck, we can do that together.

In fact, left to our own devices that's exactly what we'll continue doing.

We'll manipulate, maneuver, and maraud -- shamelessly thumping our riot shields as we challenge our protesting customers back into submission.

That type of business only lasts for so long.  And the ending is never pretty.

Maybe it's time for something different.

Maybe we need a little more love.

Dan Disclaimer: The experiences from GoDaddy, T-Mobile, and SiriusXM are my own and reflect the aggrevation of the writer.  You might never get a robo-call from these companies.  That doesn't erase my 'nightmares'.  It's lunacy that sales organization think this might actually be a good idea.