Continuing the Exploration of the Golden Rule

The last in a series on My Journey to the Golden Rule.

In the past year, I have seen just how easy it is to use the Golden Rule and how often it is not used. Remember, the Golden Rule is something you use or you do not. There is no in between or try.

Recently, I recalled a few customer service situations where I was treated well as well as treated poorly. Here are a few examples from my experiences over the past few years. And be sure to share your experiences below!

Failure to use the Golden Rule:

  • Accountants: I was attempting to reach the accountant I used for my tax returns. He did not return my calls for two months, so I called another one I knew. While he returned my call, he acted very insulted that I had declined to use him last time. I said, “Wait, I am offering you business now because the other guy messed up, and you are being rude about it?” Forget it. I called Jess who very kindly called me back in a day and spent 30 minutes explaining what she did, how she worked, and reassured me I would be fine. Sure, I didn’t hire her immediately, but I sure will if my business takes off.
  • Dell Technical Support: In 2000, they were the best. In 2002, maybe not. I called them to fix my dad’s DVD drive. By this time, support was in India. After some wrangling over English idioms, I convinced them to send me a new drive. It never came. Don’t ever say to someone, “We will send you a new drive,” when you have no intention of doing so. While I continued to buy Dell over the years, I never called them for help again.
  • Harvard Pilgrim: recently they tried to decline coverage for a prescription that was covered, yet not quite filled out the way it should have been. Since they were going to deny me, I said “Why are you punishing me for a mistake the doctor made?” They gave me the money. (We could go on for days about Healthcare service).

Organizations which use the Golden Rule:

  • American Express: In 2005, I was an intern at their Phoenix offices where I had a chance to visit the call center. This was just when Jim Bush took over Global Services. Since then, Mr. Bush trained their team to work unscripted, to help have real conversations about a card member’s problem and allow the service representative to help within guidelines. When my card number was stolen twice, they took care of me, sending me two new cards overnight in a month. When I called recently to have a foreign exchange fee removed, they said ,“No,” but they were nice about it. So nice they offered me 1,000 Starwood points to make me feel better. Of course, I’ll renew my card now because they treated me the way I wanted to be treated.
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra. After Hurricane Irene, I had a credit from them. When I called to use my credit for a different concert. There was some confusion over the size of my credit and the representative said he would find out what to do and call me back. I’ve heard that before, so I was expecting to have to call back. BSO is better than that, and sure enough, their representative called back, on a Saturday, to tell me they were taking care of it and sending me my tickets. They could have charged me more, but they treated me well. They treated me the way I wanted to be treated.

Now I consult with firms on the best ways to use their marketing automation systems. In working with several firms I see many are not fully taking into account how automation impacts how their audience perceives their firm. The rules you set inside your automation system should be based on the Golden Rule. When designing a workflow, ask “Is this how I would want to be treated in the same situation?” Marketing automation is fantastic only when the people who build it remember they are using the tool to better communicate with other people.

That’s how I made it to the Golden Rule and how I continue to explore it across business and life. Won’t you join me?


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