Irate Is Great

Joe Queenan, a writer usually found in the pages of such magazines as Esquire, contributes a solid piece to Chief Executive's May issue. "Putting Your Angriest Customers to Work." Queenan recounts an anecdote about a leader who shut down an office, enlisted some of the company's best customers, and asked them to employees know what they thought of the company's performance and quality.

Wow. When was the last time you sought out frustrated customers?

[via BusinessPundit]

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  • Doug Sutton

    Speaking to Dan's reaction to AARP. I have been a member of this organization for about five years. I have learned to read the magazine from cover to cover, as it usally has merit.

    From the commercial side, I have learned to NEVER buy anything from the magazine, or the extra mailings. When they solicit purchases by mail, I take the literature that they have sent, put it in their postage paid envelop and mail it back to them. With the class mail that they use to send this information, it will not be returned to sender if you refuse the delivery. Interestly, it will come back to you again and again. Thus, I have found this a method to let them do the recyling, and that I am not interested in their products. (I am sure that I could be taken off their mailing list, but there are sometimes flyers and articles that are valueable.)

  • Dan Seidman


    Just hit 50 and joined AARP (retired people). So I thought Id check out their cell phone deals. What follows begs the question, is AARP ripping off people or is this just a good, highly profitable business strategy?

    Their wireless offer? $39/mo for 200 minutes.

    YET, go to that AARP vendor website and the general public gets these choices:

    $29/mo for 300 minutes
    $44/mo for 1000 minutes!

    And, ALL other plans listed - Verizon, Sprint, Liberty are cheaper, by far,
    than our AARP "benefit."

    What's going on here, AARP? Are you assuming that members won't shop? Are
    you receiving $20 or so a month as a revenue-sharing deal from AARP wireless
    subscribers? This makes no sense.

    Who would be ignorant enough to buy into this? It makes no sense at all.

    But wait, there's more...

    I called AARP who couldn't respond/answer my question about these concerns.
    They sent me to Wirefly sales where they couldn't answer either. They then sent me to
    Wirefly customer service which is totally automated and won't respond unless I
    key in an customer number. So I HAVE TO BE A CUSTOMER TO GET CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    This is a summary of my first experience with AARP. I just joined and was looking forward to seeing what benefits are available. Now, I'm skeptical about whether any of these benefits are truly benefits. We have the buying power of tens of millions and are getting charged more than the general public a public, by the way, which these "benefit" providers spend a fortune on to market to.

    By the way, AARP has sent me several emails telling me theyll respond to me soon. That was about a month back.

    It seems that it's time to create a competing organization.

    Dan Seidman,
    "One of the top 12 sales coaches in America" (Ultimate Selling
    Sales Horror Stories now appearing on!
    Author, The Sales Comic Book
    There is nothing like it on this planet (possibly any planet)! 1-847-359-7860 (central time)

  • Jason Womack

    I was re-reading an article by Jason Compton from CRM magazine (March '05) and came across this line:

    Above all, ensure that the employees facing your customers every day are armed with everything they need to take care of your customers, be it a piece of data, a rational policy, or the proper service training.

    On the road a whopping 23 nights in April, I experienced first-hand amazing customer service. Whether in a hotel lobby, a restaurant, or waiting for an airplane connection - the little things are the ones that make the big differences.

  • James F. Bolt

    How about just putting your customers to work, whether they are irate or not? The trouble with most companies is that executives have little or no face time with customres at all. In the custom-designed executive development programs we have created for clients like Texas Instruments and many others, we have them invite peers from major clients to spend a couple of days as learning partners with their executives. It's amazing how much they learn from their customer's perspective on things such as industry forces and trends, what it will take to be the industry leader, and how they stack up--fascinating stuff in this world of all too often inwardly focused, insular organizations.