Seinfeld on Marketing

Anyone who knows me well knows that I watch way too much Seinfeld. So much so that many times during a conversation with someone I remark, “Hey, that reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Kramer are…” Basically it’s a curse.

We’ll that’s all about to change. I have decided to use my Seinfeld powers for the good of marketing-kind. Form now on, each Friday I will blog about what we can learn about marketing from Seinfeld. Maybe this will help to quite the voices in my head. With that, I give you:

Inside a store full of ethnic merchandise. Elaine is examining some sort of footwear, while behind the counter Gladys is on the phone.

ELAINE: Uh, excuse me.
GLADYS: Be with you in a minute. (turns her back to Elaine and continues into the phone) No, you shoulda come last night, it was fun.
ELAINE: Uhm, I just have a question.
GLADYS: (ignoring Elaine, talking into the phone) I know, the margaritas in that place are so strong.
ELAINE: (walks up to counter) Helloo? I’d like to buy these hirachis.
GLADYS: (still ignoring Elaine, talking into the phone) So? What else is goin’ on?
ELAINE: (shouts) HEY!!
GLADYS: Listen, I’ll call you back. (to Elaine) Yes? What can I do for you?
ELAINE: (tosses the hirachis onto the counter) Nothing. You, just lost a customer.

Because she felt ignored, Elaine decides to strut in front of the store for two days showing off all of the merchandise that she bought from another retail store. When it turns out that the same person who ignored her in the first store owns this other store as well, Elaine and Kramer then try to mark down the merchandise with a price gun so that nothing is over ninety-nine cents. If this experience were to have happened to Elaine today, I choose to believe that she would have simply blogged about it or posted a youtube video.

Anyway, the point is when employees ignore customers or make them feel mistreated in anyway, they oftentimes go out of their way to make sure that everyone knows about their experience. It’s their way of “sticking it to the man”. What are the best ways to keep this from happening?

  1. Give your employees something to care about so that they in turn care about the customer.
  2. Hire attitude. Not everyone has the right attitude to work in customer service.
  3. Practice principles over policy.

What other ideas do you have?

Bonus: To read a great post about frontline employees taking phone calls, go here.

Happy Friday everyone!