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Celebrating a CEO Who's Doing It Right

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The Daily Fix has served as an outlet for many bad customer service stories. And every once in a while, we toast the companies who are doing things right. (Basic psychology - reinforce positively to maintain desired behavior.) Here's a sample of one CEO who's making the grade - and it's not for a big corporation either.

Like many of you, I've had my share of lousy customer service. In the smaller B2B world however, poor service can mean a lost customer and the spread of negative word-of-mouth. Especially in a local market, that's not a good thing.
Enter the CEO of a local printing company I approached when looking for a quote on an upcoming print run. Here's what CEO Craig Hauer wrote:

I want to thank you for allowing United Printing & Mailing the opportunity to bid on your upcoming direct mail campaign. It is our belief you will find direct mail the most cost effective advertising medium to reach your target audience, we are hopeful it yields you the success you are looking for.
It is important to me that your questions were handled knowledgeably, professionally and efficiently. Were the estimates you received from us easy to understand? Were they prepared for you in a timely fashion? If you have concerns on any of the above please don't hesitate to share them with me.

That's the first time a CEO followed up this way after the account exec sent over the quotation. Very good first impression.
So, I took him to task and told Craig that the quote was presented in a timely fashion but that pricing was higher than my previous suppliers. In his next e-mail he thanked me for letting him know. Last year, he had upgraded a piece of equipment to be more competitive on smaller print runs and "would watch pricing over the next months to come and make modifications as we felt were necessary."
Now, get a hold of this: "You have brought to the surface and confirmed a weak spot on my pricing."
How many companies or CEO's use this kind of language? Honesty. It's refreshing isn't it?
Then, here's the big close: "I will be reconfiguring the pricing model upon my return in September. Maybe you can give us another try come October?"
I was so impressed with this attention to detail and level of communication, that of course, I said yes. I value business owners or CEO's who take the time to earn every customer. One never knows... the small-volume customer today may turn into the larger-volume one of tomorrow. Way to go United. I'm waiting for October.
Anyone else have similar experiences lately? Let's share.

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A Canadian who relocated to the U.S., Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of SOLUTIONS Marketing & Consulting LLC, a boutique marketing and communications agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona. During her career, Elaine has worked for, and with, many organizations, associations, and businesses, across North America, on marketing strategy and communications tactics.

From her earlier agency career assignments freelance copywriting Procter & Gamble, Nestlé Carnation, and Kraft materials, to “inside” senior-level marketing positions, Elaine’s passion for marketing has evolved to helping clients reach new heights through strategic brand-building, integrated marketing communications, and customer orientation.

She has been a contributing writer for The Business Journal and her articles have appeared in many publications, including the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Marketing News, The Arizona Republic, Advancing Philanthropy, and several association publications. She has been interviewed by CNN, Connect Magazine, and The Capitol Times, and her content was included in Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits by Jay Conrad Levinson, Frank Adkins, and Chris Forbes. Nonprofit Consulting Essentials by Penelope Cagney. and Share of Mind, Share of Heart by Sybil F. Stershic.

Elaine is a Faculty Associate at the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and a professional member of the National Speakers Association – she does keynotes and presentations on business and nonprofit marketing, branding, customer orientation, and cause marketing at conferences and meetings.

Elaine’s career has also included stints as a cookbook author, teacher, singer, and television show host. A golf and tennis enthusiast, Elaine is enjoying life in the sunny Sonoran Desert while serving clients across North America.

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  • by Toby Wed Aug 15, 2007 via blog

    Elaine - thank you for reminding us that there are many companies who do "get it." Especially impressive this exchange came from the CEO. I would assume since culture is 'from the top' that the organization is probably open and customer-oriented friendly. If you do decided to do business with them I'd love to read a follow-up to the story.

  • by Lewis Green Wed Aug 15, 2007 via blog

    Elaine, Great story. Thank you for sharing. If I were a large corporation, I would be courting Craig Hauer starting right now.

  • by Claire Ratushny Wed Aug 15, 2007 via blog

    Hi Elaine, Wow. How nice to receive a simple, honest acknowledgement to your input. Especially from the guy at the top. I've increasingly experienced the customer service follow-up inquiries recently. You know: the perfunctory phone call with a bored, uninterested voice on the other end of the line. . . I honestly don't think many would care if I did share an observation like yours with them. I suppose they'd pass it on in a jotted note in a perfunctory way, and it would land on someone's desk. . .and what then?

  • by Elaine Fogel Wed Aug 15, 2007 via blog

    Thanks, Toby, Lewis and Claire. I think I'm going to send Craig the link to this post. I'll keep you posted.

  • by Cam Beck Wed Aug 15, 2007 via blog

    Nope. Haven't had any experiences like that recently, but I your story is very compelling.

  • by Brian Merriman Fri Oct 19, 2007 via blog

    I had a great experience the other day when I needed to get my iPod repaired. After submitting an online repair request, The Pod Drop ceo Robert Carter followed up with me personally to make sure I received my UPS shipping label and if I had any questions about their service. Bob definitely "gets it" when it comes to customer service.

  • by Neil Anuskiewicz Fri Oct 19, 2007 via blog

    Elaine, fantastic story. Lewis, don't encourage big companies to take this CEO away from his printing company. :-) I bet it his entrepreneurial spirit of service that drives him anyway.

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