I’m just back from a stimulating conference in Waltham, MA put on by the National Speakers Association-New England Chapter. The opening keynote speaker was David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. His talk emphasized doing things in “real time” rather than pontificating on the ins-and-outs of running a business. Deal with what’s right in front of you and call attention to it.

David played an hysterical youtube video to illustrate his point. A disgruntled passenger was unhappy with the luggage department’s treatment of his instrument, which he’d checked. He dealt with the poor customer service he received in a 2010 – new rules –  kind of way. Watch at your convenience and have a tissue ready, you’ll be laughing so hard.

This prompts me to write about an annoying interchange I just had trying to change the hosting of my web domain. Network Solutions, with whom janepollak.com has resided for ages, sent me a renewal form. I began the process of renewing my subscription for what looked like a nominal amount until I got to the checkout page and I noticed a figure in the hundreds of dollars. I immediately wanted out as I know godaddy.com will host you for under $10 a year.

In order to get my domain out of their clutches, Network Solutions kept me (actually, my faithful assistant) busy for hours. Because I’m no longer accessible on janepollak@earthlink.net, they needed about a dozen forms of identification including a copy of my driver’s license, a call on my home telephone line and a long questionnaire to validate that I was indeed the person who signed on years ago. This required enormous dedicated time and attention (i.e. money-making time). Finally, when we’d crossed every “t” and dotted every “i”, the customer service rep asked why I wanted to change services. “Pricing,” I said.

“Oh, if we offered you the same service for $8.50 per year, would that make a difference?”

Of course it would! I immediately signed back on for 3 more years. But why didn’t she tell me that in the first place?

The news here, and I may be late to the party to really get this, is that companies want to hold onto customers. It’s a good time to negotiate, especially if the competition is knocking at your door.

BTW, I asked the customer rep if she’d mind if I blogged about our interchange. “Not at all,” she said. So I did.

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