Don’t Be like T-mobile in Your Online Marketing: Communication Brakes Down with Too Much Specialization

Yesterday I spent seven hours on the phone with T-Mobile, trying to communicate my need to exit my old company phone plan, and keep two of the phone numbers for my wife and myself.

The changes were made a month ago, but done wrong (they moved one wrong line, messed up the order) and we needed to get it right.

The problem was that three departments needed to communicate with each other (business, personal, online promotional) and they could not.

After seven hours on the phone explaining the problem all over again and being handed off to somebody else; we had gone in a tremendous circle; accomplished absolutely nothing, and I got extremely angry!

Finally, starting all over again, I came across one very competent individual named Marguerite, who immediately saw what was happening (in spite of my yelling!): she calmed me down, found a very helpful supervisor, and got it all straitened out in minutes, while my wife was still on the ’round-robin’ on the other line!

It made me wonder how many fewer people could have been involved; how many billions could T-Mobile and companies like them save by having ten percent less employees, and having them be actually able to do something!

My experience reminded me of a proverbial ‘drum’ I have been ‘beating’ for years: that too many highly specialized vendors have too many specializations and ‘axes to grind’: conflicts of interest can turn customer service into a ‘who’s got the hot potato’ round-robin hand off that never ends!

Your wed-designer does not do Search Engine Optimization (or very often does not promise any results from it; just as bad); your host sells pay-per-click, tells you that organic placement is impossible; your SEO person mistakenly tells you that no paid advertising is worth it; who should you believe?

Unfortunately, none of the above! The problem is that nobody mentioned above is willing to take responsibility for the results; they all have their own separate interest, they all get paid separately, and all too often they are more interested in avoiding accountability for the problems than they are in solving them: at your expense.

Enter the marketing consultant: there is just one problem; nobody wants to pay a consultant: they just want their advice to try it at home; and everyone has a ‘Cousin Vinny’ at home who can do it cheaper (often a family member) – and the ’round robin’ starts all over again!

Many marketing consultants realize this, and their only way to get paid is to sell something; sort of like having a doctor who makes his money from the disease, the treatments, the prescription drugs, but never the cure!

Online marketing is a messed up marketplace; not only do all the parties not communicate well, or get along; they don’t even work for the same company!

The challenge for us all in the future will be to make it better: just imagine how much will be saved!

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