Marketing Means Knowing When to Say “I’m Sorry”

LA Times Non Aplogy
LA Times Non Aplogy

LA Times Non Apology

What you’re seeing is the cover sheet sent along with my Sunday LA Times, that arrived a day late, and only after I called. Unfortunately I called after 10:30 a.m. Tough luck.

Why is it my fault that the Sunday paper was never delivered? That’s what the flyer implies, and that’s how it makes me feel after reading it attached to the Sunday paper that I finally received on Monday.

It’s not the internet that’s killing newsprint

Advertising on the internet won’t help the failing newspaper industry. That industry’s epic fail is in properly serving its customers. From it’s outsourced subscription call centers to it’s horrific delivery record, it all comes with a familiar disappointing feeling attached. Almost every customer interaction is negative. Not to mention the ever diminishing actual quality of the content in the paper.

So why focus on Facebook “likes,” when social media channels have a mostly dismal track record in customer conversion? Most certainly because so many marketing managers grossly overrate the influence of advertising while completely overlooking the huge difference a positive customer interaction can bring to the table.

Seth Godin recently wrote: “Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony did with customer service at Zappo’s? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be trained and rewarded to take their time and actually be human, to connect and make a difference instead of merely processing the incoming.”

Business Stinks? “Begin with the basics, hot shot!”

Millions of pages of traffic and conversion data analytics are generated every day. Sophisticated and expensive campaigns are embarked upon. But sometimes plain old common sense is the place to start. Didn’t your mother ever teach you to say “I’m sorry” when you screw up?

About the author

Bill Alpert