Taking Customer Service To A Whole New Level

December 4, 2010

I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.

Phineas Taylor Barnum, ole P.T. himself, the American master of 19th century public relations,  might as well have been talking about shiny new search engines, optimization and the foundation of internet commerce rather than media as quaint as a newspaper.

Seems an online company specializing in e-commerce in a particularly high-margin category rose to the top of the Google search rankings – by following P.T.’s advice.

The company gamed the system to maximize mentions, links, references and otherwise lots and lots of notice about their customer service. And all those mentions pushed it to the top of the Goobledy Goo search rankings.

What got all those people talking (I mean typing?) –

Was it their Nordstrom or Bloomingdales level of great customer service?

Absolutely Not.

On the contrary, it was their downright dreadful customer service.  I mean really intentionally, scarily bad customer service, complete with insults, taunts threats of bodily harm, after as many purchases gone wrong as possible.

All done with forethought and intention.  To get people typing. To raise the company higher and higher in search rankings.

And it worked. More unhappy customers meant more internet chatter. Which meant higher rankings. Which meant more sales.

Happy Customers? I got your black box Goobledy Goo search engine “fairness” algorithms right here.

P. T. Barnum also is alleged to have said “There’s a sucker born every minute.”



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