Bad Customer Service

Do You Actually Like Your Customers?

This is a blog post I wrote while traveling in southern India and describes a real situation I encountered in an internet cafe,   it comes in two parts and luckily finishes with a happy ending

A Heated Argument

There was shouting and curses coming from the internet cafe. The owner was in the middle of a heated argument with a customer over the charges for a telephone call.  I wanted to use the wireless internet service and had obviously arrived just at the wrong moment. With a final curse the owner ended the battle with his latest enemy and turned to me.

“What do you want?” he said in an aggressive tone,  continuing  to curse under his breath about the foreigners who were exploiting his country.

Can I Use Your Service?

“Do you have wireless Internet?” I asked; The man nodded and pointed to a plastic garden chair that was sitting in the entrance lobby. I began to set up my computer and plugged into the electricity. The owner grabbed my plug and pulled it out.

“There’s a power cut he said so there is no electricity”, I turned and looked into the room full of computers buzzing quietly in the background  and asked how they could possibly  be running if there was no electricity.


What Is Your Priority?

“I have batteries” he replied, (a lot of places in India have banks of batteries that are used when the normal power fails) “but the power is only for my computers, not for your computer. My business is most important and without electricity how do you think I can make money. My computers have first priority”

I asked if I could pay him for the electricity I was going to use, I thought this was a bit strange since  I was already paying for the use of his Internet facilities.

How Do You Treat Your Customers?

At this point the guy lost it and started screaming at me and repeating  his curses about foreigners, that we all want something for nothing. That all we do is come here and ruin his country and make business. He pointed aggressively to the notice board  full of colorful  posters where Westerners were advertising  their  services.

I listened patiently to his tirade of abuse and then,  asked him if he was having a difficult day?

He continued cursing and shouting but with slightly less vehemence,  my question had struck him somewhere deeply, I wasn’t playing the game that he had intended me  to play.

I  told him it was Ok, I just wanted to use the internet and promised not to  use any of his electricity.

Who Is Being Exploited?

He calmed down even more and his voice was now only slightly raised, as he started listing all the grievances he had about Western spiritual seekers coming to his town, how they are all crazy and have holes in their hearts and how many of them are exploiting his people and making money.

I apologized for any westerners who might have treated him badly in the past and explained how  sorry I was that he feels this way about all the foreign visitors.  I agreed that  he was correct, his town had turned into a spiritual supermarket, but getting angry and upset about it wasn’t really going to help anybody. His town had been a pilgrimage place a long time before all the westerners started showing up

Who Are You Really Dependent On?

I kept silent about the fact that his whole livelihood depended on these foreigners using his internet Cafe. It was obvious he hated all his customers with a passion so I didn’t want to upset him any further.

When it became time to pay I realized that my words had obviously had some impact, without me knowing he had secretly plugged me in and smiled broadly telling me  that he had given  me the electricity for free.

I had  previously decided that I would never return here but this last gesture made me change my mind.











Do You Love Or Hate Your Customers?

This man is unconsciously ruining his business because of the way he treats his customers, He is caught in a catch 22 situation, he hates the people who he is serving but at the same time is dependent on them for his livelihood.  His anger is damaging his reputation and if he could just learn some way  to come to terms with this he would be a much happier man.

Its a good question to ask yourself whatever business you find yourself in.

If You Hate Your Customers You Only Have A Few Options

1. Get rid of them and find customers that you like

2. Change your attitude towards them

3. Change the business that you are in

4. Be miserable, suffer every day and potentially damage your health and all your relationships

Take Action And Take Responsibility

Personally I think the first three options are better than number four. If you ever feel like you are stuck always know that there are other options.  Of course  you must be  prepared to take action and shoulder the consequences. Most people only  find themselves stuck in number four because they are scared of change.

This is a post I wrote while I was traveling in India, it comes in two parts, you can read part two when I publish it in a few days

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Facebook Spam – The Human Face Behind The Menace

Raising The Bar

Spamming seems to becoming a hot topic again. Not the type
of Spam you get in your inbox asking you to buy Viagra or
letters from an African Lawyer who wants you to share the
inheritance of a milionare client. What I want to talk
about today concerns ordinary well meaning people who
though ignorance or lack of awareness end up becoming
perpetrators of this social menace and end up damaging
their reputation at the same time

I Don’t Like Spam


Most people don’t like to eat Spam all the time so make
sure this isn’t what you are serving to all your friends.

Do You Want To Make The Right Impression?

Part of this blog post was written in the summer but I
thought I would re-edit it and include some recent
conversations and share it with a whole new audience.

My latest book, The Facebook Strategies Guide addresses
these sames issues and from my own observation. 95% of the
people using Facebook for Business are needlessly making
themselves look like spammers.

Attention Grabbers

If a complete stranger came and knocked on your front door
and demanded that you go with them to look at their new
car or dragged you out of your house and forced you to go
inside their new shop, don’t you think you might get a bit
upset. Why is it then that so many people act that way on

Why Should I Give You My Attention?

How many times have you had someone send you a friend
request on Facebook and then straight away before you’ve
had time to take a second breath they have asked you for
something, demanding your attention, whether its to check
out their group, look at their website, join their MLM
program or Get Rich Quick scheme.

What these people maybe fail to realize is their approach
is getting them entirely the opposite results than they
might expect. The reason being is they fail to see the
message they are sending from the other side or think a
little bit about who they are sending to. Without having
this view you assume that the whole world will naturally
be interested in everything you are doing and you demand
that they give you attention.

Relationships First – Deals Second

Trying to sell yourself or your products without first
taking the time to build some sort of relationship is not
going to be the most effective strategy in today’s web 2.0
world. In a world where word of mouth is the new marketing
force to reckon with. Adopting this aproach is effectively
shooting yourself in the foot.

Serve Others First And You Will Be Rewarded

When you friend someone don’t ask them for something
straight away, take the time to send a personal message
and ask what you can do to help them. If you want to get
your self really noticed then you are going to have to
learn to give before you receive.

This will instantly set you apart from everyone else and
will show that you are actually interested in them and not
just in serving yourself or your business. Serving others
is one of the highest virtues you can adopt and is one of
the quickest ways to have your own needs met as well.

People will always remember you in a positive light and
that is what can influence them to open your emails,
listen to your sales messages and buy your products or
services in the future. Attention is one of the most
valuable commodities that all businesses are competing for.

Don’t Be Too Aggressive

Once you have their attention and you have started a
conversation you can decide if you want to mention what It
is you are promoting. If you are too aggressive in your
marketing or sales approach you can turn people off very

It’s easy to spot people who are not genuine so be very
careful here and make sure you do this in a skillful way,
a casual mention of what you have to offer can be much
more powerful than the direct approach.

People hate being sold to but they do like to buy. If you
position yourself in the right way, you can be the person
they choose to go to when they are ready.

Consider Starting Your Own Group

If you want to get a targeted group of people all in one
place then consider forming your own group, you can invite
all your friends and in this way, only the people who are
interested will be subjected to your marketing messages
and they have the option of leaving the group at any time.

Selling directly to new friends via their profile, instant
messenger or wall is one of the quickest ways to start
losing friends and as spam becomes more widespread more
people are becoming less tolerant of unsolicited messages
in their inbox.

I join a lot of groups to see what they have to offer, one
thing I have noticed is the difference between how some of
the group leaders treat their members.

The Trusted Friend

Some Facebook groups send me a continual stream of
messages promoting this product or that service, I have to
admit that I tend to ignore most of them, Its like I
almost don’t see or hear anything of what they are
communicating, I filter it out and it just goes in the
noise and distraction file.

There are however a few group leaders who have adopted a
different strategy, they keep sending me useful
information and good links to things I am interested in,
and they have a totally different way of communicating.

It’s not that they never try and sell me something its
just they do it in a different way so I don’t mind because
I have placed them in a different file,that of the trusted

If you are networking, planning on using Facebook to promote
your business or you would like to start your own Facebook
group in the future,I think there is an important lesson
to learn here. Becoming the trusted friend gives you great
power and influence. It is a position that is  earned
through service and through consistency and congruency in
your message.

A Real Life Example And Lesson

Tim Somers one of the members of our Social Traffic group
talks about his own experiences in his recent blog post

“I’ve been in the promotional product business for 19 yrs.
and networking has been one of the keys to the success
I’ve had. Being fairly new to the whole Social Networking
gig I had been crossing the spam line and did not realize
it at all.

Seems I was putting the “cart before the horse” if you
will, jamming me and what I do down the throats of
everyone and anyone I’d connected with online via
Facebook, LinkedIn as various other networks.

I guess I was really excited about all the people I’d been
connecting with and lost focus on all the successful
networking I’d accomplished over the years at local
chamber events, BNI meetings and such. Where I listened,
and didn’t really give to much information on me or my
company – and focused on building a relationship first and
letting the natural transition of getting business and
referrals grow an flourish with time.

I didn’t know I was borderline spamming online because
know one was honest with me, I kept doing it until someone
finally brought it to my attention…and I “got it”.

It was Simon Ford that put me on the straight and narrow.
His words of wisdom could have been taken the wrong way,
but the message he sent me was crystal clear and I took it
to heart and have and will be working on becoming a better
Social Networker for sure.”

Simon Ford’s Message To Tim


Please take this message as feedback, not criticism…

There are over 500 million pages indexed in Google for the
word cards, each page means nothing to me. Why do you
think your pages are any different? Is it because we are
members of the same Facebook group?

When I need a solution for cards, I will turn to my
network of people that I like and trust to find it.

Likewise, I listen to people who I like and trust. Only
they could ever convince me I may need a {offenders key
word} solution, when I didn’t otherwise know it…I could
only ever consider doing business with someone I really
liked and trusted..

That said, if the desired outcome of you introducing
yourself to me was to have me buy from you, do business
with you, or in fact collaborate with you on any level,
from where I sit, as your target, your strategy is counter

I will never listen to anyone who tells me they are
interested in building a relationship with me followed by
shoving a self serving link in my face. The approach
instills distrust in fact, making it even harder for you
to become someone I like or trust beyond such an

This is not social networking, It’s spamming Tim.

To think that the caliber of people who have all
congregated in our social traffic group see your approach
other way is miss-guided.

I have done you a favor and deleted your wall post off the
group wall and from my personal feed so not that many
people have seen them. This provides you another
opportunity to introduce yourself with a mind set of being
“Interested”, not “interesting”.

I am confident if you make the most of the opportunity you
will be enlightened by the results. I would love to hear
about your journey of discovery when you have arrived…

That’s when I can see us building a genuine relationship
that will deliver your desired outcome and a hell of a lot

I look forward to that day.

With respect,
Simon Ford

Education Is The Only Viable Long Term Solution.

As an individual you have a responsibility to your wider
network to educate all its members. If you see  a person
doing something that is damaging their reputation take the
time to let them know.

Do it in a way that encourages them to change without
being too critical, give people the benefit of the doubt,
especially those who are new to Social Media and are only
just getting started, you can point them to relevant notes
and blog posts and show them by example how you would like
to be treated as a friend and business contact.

Be Respectful

It’s clear from most discussions that talk about Spam that
each person has their own personal definition. You might
be the type who gets outraged and angry when someone
abuses your trust.

Publicly humiliating someone who transgresses your social
code might feel good momentarily, but it’s not the best
long term solution. Instead of creating an enemy why not
do what Simon did an tell them how you feel.  Treat them
in a respectful way even if you feel like you are the one
who is the victim. This kind of pro-active approach will
win you loyal friends and the respect of all those who you
communicate with.

Want To Learn More

For those who would like to learn more about using
Facebook  in the right way you can check out  my new book
The Facebook Strategies Guide. It’s a valuable resource
packed full of information that will take your social
networking to a whole new level

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