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Customer Service: Ignorance is not bliss, so be informed

Customer Service: Ignorance is not bliss, so be informed

The following are some sobering facts: According to a recent survey, “even though we Americans are 5% of the world’s population, we consume 50% of the prescription drugs.” According to a Time article, “In 2014 we filled 4.3 billion prescriptions and doled out nearly $374 billion on medicines.”

We “Americans have been led to believe – by our doctors, by advertisers and by the pharmaceutical industry – that there is a pill to cure just about anything that ails us.”

Drug companies spend $4 billion annually on advertising. We’re exposed to an average of 80 drug commercials every hour of every day on American television with the “call to action” to buy more medications.

Drug companies also spend an additional $200-300 million annually on their lobbying efforts. The running joke in Washington is, for every congressman, there are two lobbyists influencing them to draft legislations that will benefit the pharmaceutical companies. The lobbyists have successfully thwarted attempts at universal health coverage and price controls. When drug companies factor in the high indirect costs mentioned above into their pricing, and combine it with the high demand for prescriptions, it is no wonder, then, that the drug prices in America are the highest in the world. 

As consumers of these drugs, it is convenient for us to point a finger at these drug companies, but as the wise saying goes: “when you point one finger at someone, three fingers point back at you.”  There is ample data that proves we Americans are not interested in taking care of ourselves. When our physicians advise us on preventative care – to reduce our dependence on chronic medications - we ignore their counsel. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. run rampant in the US. Obesity has become an epidemic in our country.

People don’t want to be restricted. They want to eat, drink or smoke in excess, and they don’t want to exercise. They make no effort to educate themselves on the drugs they ingest or their side effects. They have somehow convinced themselves that popping a pill is a panacea for all their ailments. Pharmaceuticals have an important role to play in keeping us healthy, but when we abuse them for chronic diseases, and don’t hold ourselves accountable, pharmaceutical companies will continue to run us over, and will gladly help us die for their profit.  

From the above example we learned how the greed of big companies, combined with a lack of self control, and a general apathy of customers to understand the inner workings of a product or service can be detrimental to their physical and financial well being. We segue from here to another example where the same factors combine to undermine customers in our line of business.

In the online home repair referral space, Home Advisor and Angie’s List are the dominant players; they are followed by Thumbtack, Porch, Pro, etc. You’ve probably seen one or more of their slick TV commercials or received a direct mail or online marketing solicitation from them. In all their material, they entice unsuspecting home owners to use their services, promising that “their services are always free for their customers,” and that “they can save them a lot of money when they buy their ‘deal of the day,’ or that they’ll always get the best price, guaranteed”.

The reality, as usual, is something entirely different. Almost all of the companies listed above operate from the same play book that uses one, or both, of the following methodologies: “pay-per-lead” or “pay-to-play.” In both the methodologies, the companies/websites always make money, and the businesses that use these websites to drum up business, are always left holding the bag. Click here to find out how?

We at housspros.com created an online portal for small businesses that provide services in the home repair space to connect with home owners needing those services in an environment grounded in transparency, integrity and fairness - we don’t use either of the methodologies mentioned above. But our efforts to reach our target audience have woefully fallen short of our estimates. Why? Because we neither have the deep pockets nor do we choose to get the “word out” using the expensive tools of advertising and public relations. That said, we’re growing our website’s traffic organically - by reaching out to our customers, one at a time, and explaining to them our value proposition. Here’s hoping you’ll join us, too.

To conclude, whether it is picking a prescription medication or using an online home repair referral site, you – the customers - should do your due diligence to equip yourselves with all the relevant information about a product or a service before choosing the best option, because it is in the best interest of these big companies to have an uninformed customer base so that they can keep the spigot of profits flowing. It is for this simple reason they spend so heavily on advertising (to attract new victims) and lobbying (to fend off competition), instead of passing on those savings to you, their existing customers.

Customers, your take away from this post should be: There are no free lunches; you will always pay, directly or indirectly. Companies are in it to make fat profits, so it is ingrained in their DNA to nickel and dime you and cut corners. You need to step up and demand better products and services and hold these companies accountable for their bad customer service. Otherwise, they don’t have any incentive to change their ways. Lastly, if we may recommend, go off the beaten path and try one of the smaller players – they’re hungry for your businesses, so they will work hard to earn it.

Image Source: logok.org; famouslogos.us; en.wikipedia.org; en.wikipedia.org



Last Updated: 2017-10-26 19:57:49

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