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National Mail Order Association (NMOA)
Direct Marketing
and Mail Order

by Alan Rosenspan

It’s not a computer virus — it’s much worse than that.

And it’s infecting some of the biggest and most sophisticated companies in America.

WAYMISH stands for "Why Are You Making It So Hard...for me to give you my money?" and it’s the title of a remarkable book by Ray Considine and Ted Cohn.


Considine has delivered hundreds of speeches, workshops and seminars around the world, and is a long-standing guru on sales training and customer retention.

WAYMISH is now in it's sixth printing, and already being integrated into the training programs at many leading companies. They include Advance Auto Parts, the second largest distributor n the U.S, and Shoppers Mart with over 1000 stores in Canada.

There are dozens of good books on excellent customer service, but this is the first book that focuses on Customer Disservice. Besides being filled with great ideas, wise suggestions and tips, it has dozens of the funniest stories about goofs and gaffes in business. (Unfortunately, they're all true.)

A man attends the opening of an art gallery and spots a stack of beautifully printed full-color flyers featuring the gallery show items. He politely asks, "May I have one?"

"No!" snaps the dim-witted guardian, "these are only for our clients!" The man thinks for a moment, then asks, "Well, do you get new clients?

A woman calls up the telephone company to get an unlisted number. The operator takes the order and gives her the number 784-2668.

The woman asks if the new number can be used immediately, and the operator answers "Yes."

She then asks the operator to repeat the number so she can write it down. "Sorry, Ma'am, I can't. That number is unlisted."

A Yogurt company wants to reassure their customers.

On their package, they say - If you’re not satisfied, please let us know, and we will send you a free one.

What are they expecting people to write? "Dear Yogurt company, I’m not satisfied with your product. I don’t like it. Please send me more."


What’s the impact of WAMISH?

Management guru Peter Drucker put it best when he said, "The purpose of business is to create a customer."

It's not about making sales, or even making profits. Those will come naturally when you create customers -- and keep them.

And WAYMISH points out the best way to do that is to keep your present customers satisfied.

Considine cites Stew Leonard's, the huge grocery store in Connecticut that has the highest sales per square foot in the U.S. They feature talking cows, free samples, and entertainers. It’s almost like visiting a theme park.

But that’s not the only secret of their success. A 6-ton rock sits outside the entrance of the store. Carved into it is Rule #1: The Customer is Always Right.

And Rule #2 is: See Rule #1.

So Stew Leonard's obviously understands the importance of keeping customers. They serve over 100,000 customers a week, and most of

them are fanatically loyal.

Customers even send the store photographs of themselves holding a Stew Leonard’s shopping bag in exotic destinations. There are hundreds of them posted on a bulletin board inside the entrance.

Stew Leonard’s shopping bags have been at the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the North Pole, and more countries than you can imagine.

It’s not only fun — it’s good for business. Considine reports how in one of their internal newsletters, they underscore the financial impact of good customer service.

"If we lose only 1 out of 1000 customers a week -- hardly worth mentioning, you would think -- and the average weekly shopping bill was $100...our store would lose $1,250,000 a year.

"That's over 12 million dollars over a 10 year period!"

Most companies don’t understand the concept of Lifetime Value.

Or if they do, the message is never passed along to the people who actually come into contact with customers.

No wonder one supermarket chain posted the following sign:

"For your convenience,

we now have courteous

and efficient self-service."

Courteous and efficient self-service? I know I have to do it myself, but do I have to thank myself afterwards?

WAYMISH is more than just a book of entertaining true stories. It’s filled with ideas that can directly apply to direct marketing. One of the most important ones is as follows:


What Are Your "Moments of Truth?"

The book discusses Jan Carlzon, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines. When Carlzon looked around at his competition, he was appalled at the inferior service and poor attitudes most airlines offered their customers.

Carlzon carefully reviewed every step of the customer contact process, and identified 5 critical times when the airline interacted with the customer.

He called these 5 points of contact "the Moments of Truth," and they work for any business.

For airlines, they are: making a reservation; getting tickets; boarding; flying; and retrieving baggage.

Carlzon recognized that at any one of these crucial moments, the airline could either strengthen their relationship with a customer,

or risk losing them. And he personally checked up on how the airline was meeting them.

For example, if an SAS plane arrived late in Paris, the first thing the pilot had to do was to call the Chairman and explain why.

Do you think SAS usually runs on schedule?

WAYMISH recommends that you apply the same methodology to your business. What are your "Moments of Truth?" What is your customer contact process? What are the opportunities you have to delight or disappoint a customer?


Some Companies Make it Easy

WAYMISH also includes many examples of outstanding customer service.

A guest in the Hotel Carlyle in New York is dining with three friends in the hotel restaurant. He asks the waiter to please speed up the order because he wants to catch a television show starting at 10:00.

As the hour of the TV show arrives an assistant manager of the hotel approaches and says quietly, "Excuse me, Sir, I've taken the liberty of inserting a blank tape in the VCR in your room and set it to record the show, so you can dine at your leisure."

After a large earthquake, Viking Business Products immediately sent out the following letter to each of their customers in California:

"We want to help you if you need it.

Everyone was affected by the earthquake.

Some of us more than others.

If your business was damaged, we’d like to help."

Tell us what you need NOW, and we will try to do it NOW — at no charge.

This is not a sales letter. It’s a sincere offer, just to help our customers. Here’s a few ways we can help you, if you need it:

  1. Some office supplies (no cost to you) to get you started again.

  2. Replacement (free) of something you have purchased from us that was damaged in the quake.

  3. Extra months to pay for open invoices or additional purchases (no interest-no pressure — just your personal word that you’ll pay.)

Irwin Helford
President, Viking Business Products


WAYMISH has garnered great reviews, including one from Murray Raphel, who said, "Anybody selling anything should be quarantined until they read this book!" I also recommend it to direct marketers.

Considine doesn’t want to make it hard for you to give him your money. You can order copies by calling 1-888-929-6474 or e-mailing


My Own Favorite WAYMISH Story

Everyone has one — and in fact, I would be delighted to hear yours. Just e-mail me at I’ll pass it along to Ray, and it may even show up in the next edition of WAYMISH.

My story is pretty simple: I go up to a car rental counter in the airport. The young woman behind the counter says: "We have a daily rate of $24.95 and a corporate rate of $29.95."

She then asks, "Which would you prefer?"

I wanted to answer; "Now we know why you work behind a counter!"


Why Not Give Alan Rosenspan Your Money? He’ll give you back a highly successful direct marketing program, or a very interactive and valuable seminar.

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