I recently was shopping for a research subscription and contacted a couple of industry leaders for a price quote. In both cases, membership levels and prices were not available in print or online. I had to provide my name and contact information and wait for a sales representative to contact me. A week later and I’ve only heard from one of the research providers. I’m sharing with you the shocking experience I had today with the more popular research company.
On January 15, I submitted my “urgent request” to hear from a new business developer via phone AND web/email. I waited six business days to before I received a phone call.
During this call, the rep asked some questions and explained the options. I expressed interest in the basic membership level and he offered to put me in touch with a senior-level rep who could talk to me about discounts and negotiated subscription rates. I was contacted by rep #2 later that same day. After hearing a typical sales pitch, and nothing I hadn’t heard from rep #1 that morning, I told him that I’m interested in the basic membership and ask him if there are discounts or variations of which I should be aware.
Rep #2 quickly announced that his company does not sell the basic membership without the mid-level membership (more than double the basic level price). Of course, I’m at a loss as to what the basic level membership is for, since the mid-level membership already includes the basic level benefits. I announced to rep #2 that I am surprised regarding this major discrepancy in membership options and frustrated by the fact that we had to wait a week to hear from a sales person that could provide pricing. Rep #2 chose not to explain my options further or to soften the blow. Instead, with an obligatory tone, he apologized for the misunderstanding and concluded the call immediately.
I sat for moment, mouth agape, bewildered by this brief sales call. It left me feeling bitter because at Johnson Direct, we fight very hard to retain our current clients and win new clients. Our philosophy is to go “above and beyond” whenever possible. Day in and day out, everything we do is aimed at supporting our clients AND prospects. After all, a prospect seeking a new marketing partner may not sign-on as a client today, BUT you never know when your paths may cross again in the future. Leaving them satisfied short-term may reap benefits long-term.
I can’t believe that a large, well-known company can afford to perform new business activities in this manner. If I’m treated like this before the contract is even signed, how can I expect my needs will be met responsively and respectfully as a paying customer?
Sound familiar? I hope not! But, if you’ve had an unfortunate experience in any way similar to this, share it with me!
Denise B. Hearden