Hidden Customer Service Salespower

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“Customer service begins



after the sale is made!”

–IBM, the early days


Is it just me? I hate the put-stuff-together, 46-fold-road-map-style directions printed in fading gray ink on tissue paper (but in 27 languages!) for products I purchase. Like the Christmas toys that even your child can assemble that kept you up half the night, HO! HO! HO!

And then there are those great power tools from Mexico with instructions that challenge your English-Spanish pocket dictionary left over from trying to deal with the landscapers last summer, when you offered them –por favor– a bowl of eyeballs instead of ice cubes.

You got the tools for putting together that great “Early American” furniture set from China, with instructions in broken English and diagrams to match? Oh, and only 89 of the 92 parts?

Or how about those “E-Z Steps” that accompany the new services you signed up for? You know, the “techy” ones with 11 disclaimer paragraphs of .4 type that protectively entomb a microscopic 800 phone number to call for further information about account activation?

Right! It’s that number you’re allowed to call between 9am and 11am or 2pm to 4pm, Pakistani time. Yup, the same one included in the box of Mexican power tools and Chinese-American furniture, that by now you’ve learned to not mind being left on hold for 45 minutes for the privilege of finally connecting with a non-English-speaking, unintelligible “counselor.” 

Of course by this time, you full well know where you’re going to plug the thing in, and what your plans are for the new drill and saw set as soon as you can Google the counselor’s phone number to get a street address and take the next flight out.


I’m not being multi-cultural-diversity friendly, you say?

Sorry, I don’t think it should have to be a huge time-wasting political struggle just to be a customer a paying customer no less!”


Don’t underestimate the sales power of product and service directions. You need to exercise at least as much care in thinking through and writing (and printing) instruction information as you do for your marketing, advertising, promotion, and sales materials.

A well-written business plan might help you wrangle some financial backing, and some super website content and marketing materials might help you drive customer traffic to your products and services, but customer service (the real thing) starts the minute a customer settles in to figure out how to best use and care for your products and services.

Customer service doesn’t mean you smile and handshake and backpat people through the orientation period that needs to frollow every purchase. (Why do assembly and activation instructions have to be more complicated than frozen food package directions?)

Whatever credibility, integrity and branding value you may have worked hard and spent much to achieve will go out the window in a heartbeat when your customer spreads out the paperwork and finds small-type loopholes in the warranty, a missing or damaged part, no clear diagrams or explanations, stickers that don’t come off…

Make it hard for customers to not be thrilled!


If manufacturers or suppliers aren’t doing their jobs, don’t represent them, OR do their jobs for them because–in the end–your customers are your customers who will boost your repeat sales numbers when you boost your attention to after-sale details, like directions.

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Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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