Your customer’s point of view – walk a mile in their shoes

August 17, 2016

customer's point of view

Sometimes, I think the best marketing advice I can give someone is before you say it, do it, print it, record it or announce it – find a way to see it from your customer’s point of view.

Many times, we get so caught up in our own world that we make the false assumption that everyone in the world sees and experiences things exactly as we do. When I say it that way, you shake your head and say, “No, I recognize that there are many different viewpoints.” Intellectually that may be true but when you’re scrambling to get some marketing element done and out there – you very quickly forget that reality.

Let me give you a few examples:

When your voicemail system invites me to hit zero at any time to talk to a real, live human being – do not send my calls to someone’s voicemail. Let me talk to a human. (Technology should make it easier to talk to you, not more difficult.)

When I unsubscribe to your enewsletter – do not take me to your sales page. Take me to a page that confirms that I’ve unsubscribed. (I want to be reassured that you got my message, not pitched a product.)

When I interrupt your uninvited sales call with a polite, “I’m not interested,” – do not keep talking. Gracefully accept my answer and say goodbye. (If you aren’t good at cold calling, don’t do it unless you want to alienate the prospect.)

Are you shaking your head at the silly people who do the above? You would never do something so dumb, right? How about any of these:

When I walk into your store, don’t have your sales people swarm me from all angles, talking to me about everything I touch. (There’s a fine line between helpful and hovering. Most sales people have not been taught the difference.)

When you send a media release out, don’t call or email the reporter to see if they got it. If they want to cover the story, they’ll call you. (Just because you think its news, doesn’t mean they have to agree.)

When you get a new fan/follower on social media, don’t send them a bunch of direct messages or sales pitches. Ask them questions, share helpful tips and be interested in them. (Social isn’t for sales, it’s for helping/sharing.)

When someone signs up for your helpful ebook, cheat sheet or infographic, don’t follow that up with an email inviting them to speak to a salesperson. That’s like going from “can I buy you a drink” to “will you marry me” in five minutes. (Cultivate a lead by being so valuable and helpful that they can’t imagine not having access to you before you put your hand in their pocket.)

I’ve personally been the victim of every one of the blunders I just listed and I am betting that you have too. Bad marketing is everywhere and much of it boils down to bad manners. Honestly, I think all of them could have been avoided if the marketing team had simply said to themselves – “Would I want to be treated this way?”

Marketing should always be created with the prospect in mind. Ask yourself these questions before you launch anything.

Will our audience:

  • Find this useful/helpful?
  • Be inspired or encouraged by this?
  • Feel like we understand them and their world?
  • Pass this onto someone else?
  • Learn something or be reminded of something important?
  • See a new opportunity or a solution to a challenge they’re having?
  • Be grateful we communicated this?

If you can’t answer yes to all or most of those questions, then ask this final question:

Why would I think this is going to be effective?


Marketing idea: What does your customer experience?

January 26, 2016

marketing idea - what does your customer experienceThe concept of creating a memorable customer experience is nothing new. Companies like Disney, Zappos and Ritz Carlton have become famous for how their customers rave about doing business with them. Who doesn’t know the famous Ritz Carlton line “we are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen?”

So the concept has been around for a while, but I predict it will take on new importance in 2014 and beyond. The digital fishbowl that every business lives in today makes every nuance of every interaction a potential powder keg. It used to be that focusing on the customer experience was what the big companies did or how the top 10% thought differently than everyone else. But today it’s not a nicety; it’s a necessity.

Here’s why:

Because one slip up can cost you plenty. Your customers possess the ability to skewer you with a single Facebook post or online review. It seems as though people are rather quick on the social media draw when it comes to taking a shot at a business that has done them wrong.

Just this last week, one of my Facebook friends shared a bad restaurant experience. At the beginning, she did not reveal the name of the establishment, but as people told their own stories and started trying to guess where she had been, she finally revealed it. Others started chiming in with their own horror stories about the place.

Guess what – I’m never going to eat there. Small example but it’s happening every day to companies big and small.

You know more, so they expect more. Thanks to all of the digital data we now collect, the databases we can build (whether we do or not), the very public lives people live and how easy it is to be connected to a business through social media, e-newsletters, websites, actual interactions etc.

Whether we’ve been paying attention or not, our customers are telling us more about themselves every day. They like our Facebook page updates or they redeem a certain offer. They choose to attend our business after hours event or they refer a friend. In every one of those actions is data. The question becomes – what are we doing with what we learn?

If we don’t create an amazing experience, someone else will. Let’s say you don’t own a computer and neither do your customers. (I know…fat chance, but go with me here) Unless you have no competition – all of this still pertains to you. You cannot compete if you don’t delight. You may not be at risk for the cyber blasting that review sites and peer networks allow for but you’re still fighting for their business every day.

Someone will figure out a way to make the transaction helpful, easy and/or fun. This affords them two things. First, it gives them the crack in the door to get in with your customer and eventually, steal them away. Second and perhaps even more annoying, it allows them to charge a premium price. So not only will your customers ditch you, but they’ll also pay your competitor more.

I don’t care if your product or service is better. I don’t care if your product or service yields better results. The truth is, people will settle for a good enough product or service if the experience of acquiring it is special enough. You cannot rely on just being better.

Right or wrong — your customer is judging you every step of the way. And deciding if they’re coming back for more based on that interaction.