Earlier this week I received this blog post about not selling to unhappy customers. It is poignant and very sound advice.
Read it at http://blog.thesocialms.com/sales-lesson-vodafone-apple-unhappy-customers-dont-buy/
by Jonathan Gebauer
Last week my smartphone was stolen. It was brand new – only in my possession for 2 days. It was a shiny new BlackBerry Passport – and I loved that phone. For me phones are there for freeing up time because I can get work done on them – not for wasting my free time watching music videos on Youtube. It was perfect for that.
Yet, it was stolen from me. I am also pretty broke right now so I won’t be getting a new one any time soon. I was angry. I still am.
Here Is why Apple Needs A Sales Lesson
The phone was taken from a pocket of my jacket which was originally zipped close – yet my phone was gone. The whole thing happened in the Apple Store in Berlin (Kurfürstendamm 26 if anyone cares…). And that is where I learned the lesson that Apple Store employees don’t learn anything about sales.
Naturally I went back to the Apple Store a couple of times the last few days to check whether my phone had turned up – and the Apple employees tried to sell me an Iphone.
Seriously… I just lost a brand new BlackBerry. Worse: It was stolen from me. I am angry. I am sad. I am unhappy!
And: Unhappy customers don’t buy.
What the hell do people tell you when you start working at Apple? I mean – you are working for Apple, are you not? That’s the company that is supposed to be the holy grail of marketing? Don’t you guys learn anything?
They didn’t even stop when I told them I’m not interested. Guys I want a workhorse for … work, not a toy for watching videos.
And that is a lesson you should learn, fast. Because what you achieved that day is the following: Apple could now release the greatest phone ever, let’s say the “IMEGAPhone” and I still wouldn’t buy it. Ever. Because this is always going to remind me of that day. (I will continue buying their laptops – just because I’m already used to them. But phones – hell no.)
Let me write the following in bold: If you want to sell to someone who is unhappy – make him happy first.
In the case of the stolen smartphone that would have meant something along the lines of: Comfort me for my loss, tell me to show up again tomorrow and ask about it. Give me a phone number to call in. Tell me that you are going to look for it. Whatever.
I would return to the Apple Store with a much better feeling in the future – and would probably spend a lot of money in the future.
I know – Apple can get away with this – at the moment. But isn’t Apple also a company that should know that dark times can always come? And that it is how you treated your fanbase during the good times that decides how they treat you during bad times? That wisdom used to be Apple’s Marketing Mojo – seems they are losing it.
Vodafone Needs a Sales Lesson, Too!
On with the story: I went to the next Vodafone store to get a new SIM card for my old BlackBerry. And there it happened again: Seemingly even before my wish to get the SIM card locked and get a new SIM card was being carried out, they had already started to work on me.
If I wanted a new phone – I could simply order a partner card (25€/month) on top of my existing contract. I don’t need a fucking partner card – I just had my phone stolen. I’m angry, I want someone to shout at (I kept quiet for the most part…).
On paper all these people did everything right: They identified that I was in need of something they could provide and sell me, so they jumped right at me. And believe me – Vodafone really tried hard. Wouldn’t my parents be grateful for a new contract (without a new phone – are you serious…)?
Seriously – when jumping shamelessly at unhappy customers you shouldn’t expect great results. This is not the way to start a relationship with customers and even if you manage to sell something, the customer is still not going to be happy with his purchase. He is going to regret having bought from you. He will not come back. He will cancel his contract as soon as he can.
As for me – I left the store and promised myself to never enter this particular Vodafone shop again.
What Happened to Building Relationships?
It is really scary that these big corporations don’t even get these essential things right.
Both of these could have built a relationship to me that day. I’m not asking for freebies – but a little comfort would have done wonders. I expected both of them to do better – and am seriously disappointed. I mean – Apple is famous for its great marketing – but this is really marketing 101. And Vodafone should know better, too – they actually close contracts on cold calls. And do that a lot!
So what is the moral of this? Maybe Apple should ask every employee a question: “Would you sell an unhappy customer an Iphone?” And then fire anyone who says yes.
Just kidding. But they should take that image of being helpful to a new level.
And Vodafone? Well, my contract lasts for two years now. Doesn’t that suck?