Sunday, February 19, 2006

Miserably Servile Customer Pampering: intro

Have you ever heard of MSCP?

Of course you haven't. I just now decided to reveal it.

Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, or MSCP, is a fool-proof form of groveling that is guaranteed to increase sales, consumer satisfaction, and headaches for any company.

All you have to do is bend over backwards, and turn heaven and earth upside down for every customer request.

I learned this at Boring Pseudo-Christian Bookstores International, a mediocrely successful enterprise.

They give you an antiquated computer to look up products for special orders. The database is not updated in a timely manner. The search program is sluggish, and extremely problematic.

You type in the "Artist Name" and, for say Michael W. Smith, you get 3,012 hits. His album CDs, songbooks, accompaniment tracks, singles CDs, etc., everything he's ever done.

The program always dumps you somewhere within this file, then you have to press P for previous or N for next, then Enter, over and over and over again, to find the randomized, non-alphabeticized entry you are seeking, like "Friends" AC (accompaniment track CD, churchy people sing along with it in a church gathering).

Well, now. When a customer asks for the item, and you don't have it, you say: "Like me to special order it for you?" You hope they say no. Your Music Manager instructed you to just send them to Barnes & Noble. But you know that is unprofitable for the store, and the customer gives you that critical look, and says, "Yes."

MSCP dictates that you oblige.

You search and search for it. Can't find it. You do another search, on other branches, then on distributors, and finally, on the manufacturer. Still no luck.

"I'm sorry, ma'am," you say sweetly. "It says, see?, that the UPC number is invalid. This means that not only does no store have it, nor any distributor, but also it is out of print."

You, in obedience to MSCP, and the Music Manager, suggest they try Barnes & Noble, All That Matters, A Christ-Centered Store, Zondervan Bookstore, Thomas Nelson Outlet Shop, eBay, Goodwill, Southside Mission Mart, Lagron Miller, The Family Resource Center, or the artist/record company web site.

You do everything you can to keep the customers happy and satisfied. Even if it means driving business to your heartlessly ruthless, but more organized and efficient, competitors.

Even if they don't believe you, about the item being "out of print", and think you have a personal vendetta against them, at least you conformed to the terrific MSCP system of customer relations.

The one drawback to Miserably Servile Customer Pampering is this: your customers become hardened complainers anyway. And they start to enjoy watching you fawn all over them as you use broken computer configurations to solve their miniscule, insignificant problems.

It tends to make customers more sadistic and demanding than they already are. But that's life...and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

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