Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: Customer Service

A Conflict Between Marketing and Customer Service

How to spoil all your marketing efforts .. and lose a potential £20,000 contract


Here’s a true story that could happen in any business.  In this case it happen to a large business … but similar things happen in small businesses every day.



It always amazes me how some businesses spend a fortune on their brand and marketing only to blow it all by not thinking of their potential customers as people.


Let me give you an example I recently came across.


A very big business I know of has spent a lot on it’s website, blogs, social networking, advertising etc. and they look impressive. 


In fact they look so impressive one of my clients recently contacted them when considering putting a job out to tender.  They needed the professional services the big company offered and had budgeted £20,000 a year for the service to be supplied. 


My client works for a sizeable business, one of those businesses that is a household name, and needed three or four businesses to tender for the work.  They would then recommend their choice to the board. 


Four companies were approached by email with some questions about their approach to various issues.  It was the first stage of deciding who to invite to tender. The first three were medium sized players in this specialist market, mentioned a named contact on their websites and when this person was contacted by email they emailed or phoned back for more details very quickly. 


In each of these cases the responses were professional but friendly and addressed my client by name. My client felt at ease and happy to ultimately invite them to tender.  On the basis of first impressions my client would have been happy to work with any of them.


The big company didn’t provide any staff names on their website.  You had to email them via and they then sent back an email saying, “Your enquiry is important to us. We will reply within 2-3 days”.  There was no thanks for your enquiry, no attempt to use my client’s name or be friendly. 


Of course the big company had a process they kept to.  They had won awards for it. 


The only problem is that the big company forgot that people staffed the household name that had contacted them.  People with names, personalities and feelings.


My client felt they were being processed … and they didn’t feel at ease.  In fact they decided that this was probably how it would always be working with the big company.  They decided they didn’t want to be part of a process.


So the big company wasn’t invited to tender.


The moral is that people prefer to do business with those they know, like, trust and respect.  People really don’t want an impersonal automated email response and the promise of a reply in 2-3 days. 


Of course there is fundamentally nothing wrong with an automated system provided it is used sensitively.  Many of us use an “out of office” response on our emails or our voicemail; but we keep it friendly, and follow up with a response very quickly.  In fact one of the smaller companies sent a quick email saying they were unavailable as they were covering for a sick colleague; then the next day, when they also went sick, asked someone else to contact my client.  The difference is it was obvious they cared.


So before blowing a lot of money on marketing give some thought to the way you treat customers … by email, phone or in person. 


Remember courtesy and a smile cost nothing …. but can win a lot of business.

Businesses Helped to Cope with 20% VAT Hike

Oct 6th 2010

With the UK 20% VAT hike just around the corner the only Customer First approved company in the west midlands is offering local businesses help to improve their customer service.  Stefan Drew Associates, are providing local businesses with ongoing Customer Service advice to ensure they can survive the 20% VAT hike.

With 20% VAT just round the corner Stefan Drew Associates are urging local businesses to improve their customer service and ensure their businesses survive and the High Street continue to attract customers.

Stefan Drew commented, “The VAT hike is bound to affect shoppers buying patterns and they will want more for their money.  Clearly retailers cannot ignore the VAT rise but they can offer shoppers more in terms of excellent customer service.

In the UK when people have finished complaining about the weather they often go onto customer service.  Overseas call centres, poor service, and a hundred and one other things are complained about but it needn’t be like that as companies like John Lewis demonstrate.”

He continued, “Excellent customer service isn’t about spending a lot of money, simple things like listening to your customers and smiling cost nothing at all but make a surprising difference when your competitors are indifferent to their customers.  It is all about ensuring customers come to you, your High St or town and don’t go somewhere else. 

What we are now doing is offering local business some very simple advice they can use to delight their customers and beat the downturn that a tax hike will otherwise bring.” 

Businesses looking for advice can go to to download their free customer service advice.

For further details contact Stefan at Stefan Drew Associates on 07904 897929 or email
Notes to Editors


Previously Head of Press, Publicity and Marketing at the Contributions Agency Stefan directed marketing for both Hartpury and Warwickshire Colleges before opening Stefan Drew Associates in 2005.
Regularly introduced by  the BBC as the Marketing Magician Stefan has been heard worldwide and his website is visited by businesses and individuals in over 100 countries.
He has also held posts within the Cabinet Office and was responsible for marketing, press and publicity at the Contributions Agency where he was an early advocate of merger with the Inland Revenue.

 A qualified lecturer Stefan has taught business and marketing in the UK, Portugal and France.

Despite spending little on marketing the business has grown rapidly year on year; a fact Stefan puts down to implementing his own advice.  
Having advised businesses on both sides of the Atlantic Stefan’s work has been published in over 50 countries and he has subscribers to his regular Top Tips Newsletter in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa.
Stefan has a number of business clients in the UK and overseas which leaves him well placed to the needs of both small businesses and corporates worldwide. 
Stefan's website can be found at
Stefan Drew, is based in the UK at Marton, Coventry, Warwickshire and also has offices in Exmouth, Devon. 
Stefan is a Fellow of the Institute of Business Consultants.