August 13, 2010

Give the People What They Want?

"Give the people what they want, you gotta give the people what they want

"The more they get, the more they need, and every time they get harder and harder to please."

So sang The Kinks back on their 1981 album by the same name. I am beginning to wonder if that song or album applies to a lot of companies some 30 years later. It should...but I'm not so sure it does.

I just had the lovely experience of speaking to a credit card company on the telephone. If you've ever had the pleasure, you know what fun the process can be. (It appears that Blogger doesn't have a "Sarcastic" font available so take my word for it). Entering your information via the phone keys only to have to repeat the information to the human operator is one thing but some of the other hoops seem to be added these days just for bonus frustration.

After applying for the new card (and being approved) I asked the lovely operator to remove me from any additional mailings and call lists. Unfortunately she couldn't do that for me. Obviously, that would be too easy?

Hoop Jumping 101

I had to contact an entirely different department just to ask to not receive any additional mailings, phone calls, emails or other "stuff" that I don't want. If I wouldn't have taken this step, it is certain that I would have begun to be inundated with offers, affiliate mailings and who knows what else from this unnamed credit card company that would be undoubtedly "CHASE"ing my business.

After contacting the "Privacy Center" - which ironically was very difficult to get in touch with - I spoke to a more than friendly lady (insert "Sarcastic" font here) who was able to help me. "Was I sure I didn't wish to receive emails, phone calls and/or direct mailings?" she asked.

"Yep," I replied.

"Would you like for me to remove you from all nine mailings or would you like me to read a description of each mailing for your review?"

Yes, you read that right. NINE DIFFERENT MAILINGS were coming my way if this additional call was never placed. Nine? The last time I remember receiving nine pieces of mail from one company without my asking was when Columbia House was looking for a Jim Shue back at my fraternity house address.

Why would anyone want to get nine different types of mailers from a credit card company? Where's the value? Where's the personalization (beyond the "Occupant" label)? Where's the permission?

I opted out of all calls, emails and mailings except for my monthly bill. I was notified that my request would be honored but they would not guarantee that any mailers wouldn't be sent as some mailers may have been mailed within 90 days of this request. Goodness gracious...I applied for the credit card, was approved and spoke to the "Privacy Center" all within 20 minutes! How many postal carriers could have been summoned between them saying "You're Approved" and "Cease All Mail"?

Credit Cards and Realtors - The Connection?

When it comes to real estate, I am a strong proponent of direct mail, email, phone calls and personal visits. I also believe that these "contacts" should always be "permission based" and contain something of value. Any person requesting no more contact should be respectfully honored.

Hey Realtors - Always seek to provide people with value, whether that is personal advice, guidance or actual things. This is one case where "asking forgiveness isn't easier than asking permission."

Listen to The Kinks..."Give the people what they want. You gotta give the people what they want."