Today’s blog post is
about authors delivering great customer service. In the real world, lots of
customer service is poor.
I don’t know if it is due to the pandemic, but delivery of food items at various venues has been abysmal. Out of practice? Understaffed? Less experienced staff?
Don’t know, don’t care.
Here are four cases in point:
Went to the movies. The concession stand that sells overpriced items was out of almost all boxed candy. I am not a theater manager, but if I knew on a Saturday night that thousands of people would walk through the doors with fewer items for sale, I would hop over to Costcos and buy out the joint. They are still going to mark it up 200%. Everyone wins. Nothing doing. Today’s manager of a corporate complex just throws her hands up in the air and absolves herself of blame or ownership of the problem.
At a comedy club, where the food menu has eight staples that take five to ten minutes to make — if that — served half of our tables order in about twenty minutes. The other half came out 45 minutes after that — and it was the wrong foods. 15 minutes later, just before the 90-minute show ended, they completed an order that included easy-to-make pita bread and hummus.
I go to Starbucks daily, sometimes twice a day. Tall non-fat mocca, no whip. Hot. I can’t tell you how often they screw an order up. My iceless water comes out with ice. Or they give me a cup of ice, no water. They warm up the banana nut cake when I say not to. Sometimes they get the size of the drink wrong. This has happened at a dozen stores.
At a Mets game the other day. Total concession stand nightmare. I wanted to buy an ice cream. They have a kiosk for that. Line was 12 deep and moving with no urgency. I walked over to their sausage stand. The lady behind the counter says she was out of onions and peppers. Keep in mind it was the fourth inning of the first game of a double-header. I move on to a fuller-menu stand that has ice cream. After waiting on line, the worker says the ice cream machine is on the fritz. No sign was posted. Desperate for something, I ordered the classic stadium combo of a hot dog and fries. She tells me that stand does not sell fries. OMG! How hard is it to spend money on junk food at a place that wants to separate me from all of my money? I found one more stand — with a line — that saw it fit to charge $13.50 for a hot dog and fries.
So what goes wrong?
*Not incentivized by low level of compensation
*No rewards for great work; no punishment for a mediocre performance
*Worker shortage means job security
*People don’t listen
*Lack of pride
*They are only smart enough to get a dumb job so they simple sink to the lowest standards
I should know. As a teen looking for a summer job in the early 1980s, I was horrible at all of the minimum wage jobs that I worked at before quitting each of them. I worked at KFC, a supermarket chain (Waldbaum’s), a carpet store, a shlock store (dumpy variety store), a deli, and some other joints. I did everything wrong and should have been fired. I stole small things out of boredom. I tossed out goods that I was too lazy to shelve. I cooked food that fell on the floor. No one cared. I cared even less.
There are a zillion books and consultants and online training courses about recruiting, training, motivating, and rewarding employees, but all too often things go wrong. Companies don’t really pay their people enough to care. Many managers are not good at both outward-facing service and inward employee supervision.
Sadly, this is all built into the corporate profits model. Boards and owners of companies fail to see the money they leave on the table if only they were better stocked and staffed. They only compare one quarter to the next, one mediocre staffing to the next. They overcharge not just out of greed, but to make up for incompetence, and to make up for managerial weakness, lack of leadership, lazy staffs, visionless order-takers, theft, and lousy service.
There is no chance of it improving, so I won’t give false hope or make empty suggestions. Nothing can change unless companies wake up to lost profits or consumers finally boycott and complain about the sub-par, taken-for-granted service that is delivered to them.
Authors, do not be like Corporate America. Don’t take customers for granted, deliver mediocre service, or present a crappy book for sale. Here is what you can do:
Have a great website. Think it through. See it from the customer’s point of view. Is all of the key info easily accessible and understandable? Is contact information listed? Are any questions unanswered? Is ordering your book is easy - and is it available from more than one store or platform, and in multiple formats?
Do you make it easy to find you? Do you have a website? Do you have a business card? Is your email signature complete? Are you on social media? Do you do mailers and handout fliers?
Are you responsive to those who contact you? Do you stay in touch with blog posts or podcasts or a newsletter?
Put out a quality book and seek to target your likely reader where he or she gathers.
Publicly get your message out — and often. Seek out the news media. Do book signings. Speak at conferences or before local groups. Network online and in person.
Lastly, put yourself in the mindset of your ideal consumer. Deliver to them what they want and how they expect to be treated. Don’t be like the movie theater, comedy club, Starbucks, or the Mets. They make money in spite of themselves. Instead, imagine and then deliver the optimal customer experience.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .