Uncommon Sense

On October 15, the blogs I was writing stopped going out and I had no idea why. I contacted MailChimp, the company responsible for posting my WordPress blog. They said, “we know it’s not working. A lot of other users are experiencing this problem.” So I asked, when do you expect it to be fixed?” And they said, “we don’t know. Our development team does not provide us with a schedule.”

For the next 30 days, I contacted MailChimp customer support only to receive the same response from every single rep I spoke to. It was frustrating. I missed the connection with you and I felt like the company was ghosting me.

After 3 weeks, I had a chat with a rep named Reign. Instead of getting PO’d I asked, “Do you think it’s time for me to find a new company to handle my business?” To my surprise, they answered, “Yes. That’s what I would probably do.”

Life got a little busy and I put the problem on hold until last night when I decided to give MailChump (renamed by me) one last opportunity to come through.

Reign was my rep, again. This time, they asked me some new questions, one of which was “is your campaign ‘paused’ for some reason?”

“Paused,” I asked?

“Yes,” said Reign. “Looking at your Dashboard, it looks like your campaign is set to Pause. Have you tried re-setting it to ‘run’?”

This was news to me. Had I inadvertently set it to pause back in October? Maybe I did that when I was trying to change the main photo. Yeah. I think I may have done that by mistake.

So, Reign showed me how to set it to “run” and that’s why a bunch of old posts were sent out along with my regular, daily post, yesterday and why you’re receiving this today. Thanks, Reign. Problem solved.


Does it seem crazy to you that eight different customer reps and a manager never checked for this simple “pause” solution? Sure, I accept my responsibility for inadvertently pausing the campaign, but why didn’t their protocol to fix a non-running campaign include making sure it was set to run?

Uncommon sense.

If Reign had not checked this, my next move would have been to ask my high-priced developers to fix it or get me a new setup with a new company ($400?). Luckily, I procrastinated long enough for a solution to appear.

If you want to have an invigorating, animated conversation at the Thanksgiving Dinner table next week, ask everyone to talk about good and bad customer service experiences. You’ll hear an earful!

For example…

My parents live in a super-nice senior residence and they pay gobs of money to be there. Unfortunately, the food service is slow and the quality is just okay. The residents, Westchester folk who know good service, are getting snookered by bad management.

Really. How can a place that charges you that much money have that kind of crappy food service? And why am I bringing this up after the Mailchimp story?

The answers to problems are often simpler than we think. In the case of the pause problem, it’s about training. The reps need to be taught “start with the simple, obvious fixes and don’t pass it off to the development team or let the customer leave without exhausting those options.”

In the case of my parent’s building, the owners need a great chef, line cooks and a crackerjack waitstaff who are paid well enough to stay. This is an investment in quality that they have not made. Hire the right people, pay them well and let them soar. Simple. A really good, customer-centered waiter will stay if he’s making $2-300 per shift. Same is true for a chef making $200K. That’s what it costs to bring in the pros.

Cost-cutting and crappy training are two of the way companies gain a reputation for shoddy service. Investing in your people and making the customer happy is the secret to a well-run organization that develops a loyal clientele. It really is that simple…and hard.

I’m going on about this, in part, to remind myself that I need to give 100% to my businesses, especially my customers – kids, teachers, principals and parents. I can’t “phone it in” or stop innovating. When necessary, I need to hire people better than me and accept that making an investment in my company is the path to leadership in my field. Simple and hard.

A bad customer experience is a good lesson.

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