— By Trina Fleming

One thing that has always bothered me is how magazines love to give new customers gifts with their subscriptions. Why is it that the new customer gets all the treats and the one who has been a loyal subscriber for years, gets nothing? I tested this by calling one of the magazines I subscribe to and asking for the gift. I was told it was only for new subscribers, so I threatened to cancel my subscription and then sign up as a new subscriber and asked the customer service person if he thought that made good sense. He did not, and I received my free gift in a few days.

More recently, I had been trying to get through to our voice and data provider to get some information. I called several times and left messages, and sent emails to the supposedly only person who could help me, but to no avail. I was about to do what I suspect most companies hope you’ll do and give up. Then I realized that I was not just a current customer, but a potential customer as well.

So I called back, but this time I asked for Sales. I got a very cheery sales person who was eager to help. I told her that I was looking for pricing for a new location. (We are looking to move in late 2017.) I told her I was interested in voice and data and possibly a new phone system. That’s when I could hear her totaling the commission in her head. She was flipping pages, looking up figures, and trying to help me determine what I would need. She was funny, she was pleasant, and most of all, she was helpful.

Then I said, “Oh wait a minute. I already use your service and can’t get anyone to help me. I guess it doesn’t make much sense to use your service at our new place, does it?” She asked for my account name and what type of help I needed. When I told her, she said that she could help me. And she did. She then went on to ask me about my needs for my new location. I explained that I really didn’t need that information now, but had only said that because I was not getting the attention I needed as a current customer.

After a few moments, of silence she responded, “Oh, I guess that was a good idea.” “Yes,” I replied, “I guess it was!”

Trina FlemingTrina Fleming is the Chief Operating Officer for WHW, a non-profit organization that provides the unemployed and underemployed the skills and resources they need to get and keep a good job. Trina oversees all back office operations including Human Resources, the shaping of WHW’s brand message, development and implementation of WHW’s strategic marketing and communication activities, purchasing, organizational policies and management of WHW’s technology infrastructure and facilities as well as special projects designed to increase the organization’s capacity, efficiency and awareness in the community.