Why You May Be Sabotaging Your Advertising Efforts and How to Avoid This Mistake – Part One

Advertising Marketing SabotageI’m concerned that you may be sabotaging your advertising efforts… and it has nothing to do with poorly written ads, or choice of media.

Truth be told, I’ve carried this concern for a long time. But it took a customer experience meltdown to remind me that I need to make sure you’re maximizing every penny spent on advertising.

But first, let me fill you in on what happened…

For the past two years, I’ve struggled to find a pillow with just the right amount of comfort and density to alleviate the pain coming from my arthritic neck. Nothing too hard, or too soft. And I didn’t want a pillow that would flatten after a week of use. So after researching online, I decided Tempur-Pedic pillows were worth considering. But priced at one hundred smackers or more, depending on the model, I wasn’t going to order one online and take the chance I would like it. Nope. I wanted to plop my noggin’ on a few styles to make sure the pillow was right for me.

Luckily, Tempur-Pedic’s website has a nifty dealer-locator feature that directed me to five nearby retailers that carry Tempur-Pedic pillows. So far, so good. Right?

Yes, but here’s where things unraveled pretty quickly.

Rather than drive around town all day, I phoned each of the five local Tempur-Pedic retailers to get the scoop on prices and models available. Here’s what I found:

  • Store A — a big box chain retailer — immediately placed me into “Automated Phone System Hell.” Frustrated, I hung up and moved on to the next retailer on my list.
  • Store B — a local furniture shop — acted like I was a nuisance, and even chided me for calling during Saturday peak times. The associate refused to take the time to tell me which models of Tempur-Pedic pillows the store stocked. Her reason: She was too busy helping other customers who were shopping in the store’s showroom. What? You mean you didn’t have someone else on staff that could answer my questions? Not good. Not good at all.
  • Store C — a mattress retailer — didn’t provide much help either. The salesperson seemed confused by my inquiry. He kept talking about Tempur-Pedic mattresses. When I pointed out that I was interested only in pillows, he replied that Tempur-Pedic doesn’t sell pillows. Evidently, he was clueless.
  • Store D — a local furniture shop — no longer carried Tempur-Pedic pillows. Next.
  • Store E — another local furniture shop, and the final retailer on my list — carried several models of Tempur-Pedic pillows including the ones that interested me most, but didn’t have any remaining in stock. Determined not to lose a sale, the crafty salesperson offered to sell me the floor model. Really? The floor model? With everyone’s grimy head stains on it? No thanks. I’m not even sure that’s legal. Even if it is, it’s definitely the wrong approach to take with a customer. Why not just offer to order a pillow for me? Or, tell me when stock will be replenished?

Now, before we place all the blame on the shoulders of these five retailers, I want to acknowledge Tempur-Pedic’s role in this debacle. The company must accept responsibility for providing customers with a less-than-accurate dealer locator system on its website. Don’t you agree?

Bottom line: Delivering a poor customer experience may be costing you sales. Don’t gamble your hard-earned advertising efforts until you’ve fixed the leaks in your boat. Or as Bill Bernbach put it, “It’s always a mistake to make good advertising for a bad product.”

In Part Two of this post, we’ll look at some quick and dirty tips on how to raise the level of your customer experience.

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