How Not To Communicate

Learn how to improve customer service through better communication

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #139

This past Cyber Monday, while finishing up my holiday shopping, an email from a department store showed up in my inbox.  The image in the email was for colored denim jeans.  I was thrilled because my mother-in-law, who lives in another country, has been requesting colored jeans for years.  I clicked on the image and that's when the trouble began. 

When I clicked on the link, I expected to see the jeans that were advertised. But instead, I landed on the home page for the store. “Hmm that's odd,” I thought. “Why didn't it take me to the jeans?”  So I entered the exact words from the ad into the search box. The results?  "No products found."  Strange.  Let me try again…  

Don’t Confuse Your Prospects and Customers

I called customer service. The rep proceeded to do exactly what I did.  He helpfully said, "Hmm…I don't know, that's odd."  After putting me on hold for a while to confer with a colleague, he returned to tell me that the ad was for an in-store promotion only. 

He said, "We should have been tipped off because the ad had a green graphic that said 'fabulous finds' on it” Huh?  If it was an in-store promotion, why wasn't the product at least shown on the website with the words "in-story only"? I decided to search for the words "fabulous finds" on the website. No dice. No explanation. Then I reminded the rep that it was in fact Cyber Monday.  “Wouldn't a reasonable person expect the advertisement that arrived on Cyber Monday to be for an online purchase?” He didn’t have a good response for that.

Which brings me to today’s first Quick and Dirty Tip: When marketing your products and services, remember to review your ad campaigns with fresh eyes.  What might someone who has never experienced your company or brand need to know? Be sure “insider” terms are clearly explained. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself fielding more customer inquires and possibly even public complaints. (Did I mention that I tweeted about my bad experience while it was happening?)


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.