Paul Dunay over at Buzz Marketing for Technology wrote a post titled “Sin of Inclusion” that pointed me to some commentary on the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) website. The ITSMA article, titled ‘Why Our Customers Aren’t Listening to Us“, lists five reasons that customers aren’t listening to IT marketers.
These reasons are:
Customers aren’t just confused-they’re offended
Big prices + lack of specificity = frustration
The sin of inclusion
All marketing-speak sounds the same
Marketing-speak makes the purchasing decision more difficult
You aren’t surprised are you?
Everyone’s been subjected to ‘marketing speak.’ From my experience, when a vendor talks to me in plain English and addresses my issues without any marketing speak, they tend to get much more of my time than the marketing-speak that spews from some vendor’s mouths.
I’m sure there are many of you that have been involved in creating marketing-speak too. I have. Think about the last time you were in a meeting and someone asked you how you could help them. Did you speak clearly and simply and describe how you can help them? Or did you revert to the marketing material you memorized? I know there are times when I’ve reverted back to marketing-speak and within seconds I regret it.
The difficulty of marketing is that it is tough to use one approach to market your product/service these days. I think this is why so many people/organizations are excited about using social media…you can target your message to your audience (theoretically). Even with this ‘new’ approach to marketing, you’ve got to listen to your target market first, then market to them.
Regardless of what your message is or who you are speaking to, you’ve got to communicate in a simple, real and honest method. In other words, have an Authentic Conversation with your customers/clients and you’ll find that they’ll listen intently….after you’ve listened to them.
This is a guest post written by Heather Johnson, who regularly writes on the topic of career exploration. See her byline at the end of this article for Heather’s contact information.
Although employee engagement might be the buzzword around the office, customer retention is obviously important as well. Managers can become so focused on marketing that they lose sight of the customers they already have. It is cheaper to retain your current customers than to seek new ones, so heed the following tips in order to boost your bottom line.
Value Your Customers – Customer service must be sincere in order to be effective. Make your customers the number one priority and ensure that every employee is trained to do the same. By consistently treating all customers with respect and honesty, they will see you as a dependable company to do business with.
Offer Specials – Customers like to feel as if they are being awarded perks for choosing your company. Not only should there be company-wide specials throughout the year, you should give exclusive discounts to your most valued repeat customers.
Address Problems Immediately – Never let a customer complaint go stale. If someone contacts your business with a complaint or a cancellation, ensure that they receive top priority. Troubleshoot this issue with the customer and try to reach a satisfactory agreement for everyone.
Empathize – You must always display empathy with your customers, whether indirectly or directly. If you are following rule number one, “value your customers,” then this empathy will be sincere and most effective. You truly do want the best for your customers, as that is largely what is best for the company.
Socialize – Your business should actively socialize with their customers and gather feedback. This can easily be done through a company Web site and corporate blog. Make the customers feel as if you are involving them with every step and always value their input.
Customer turnover could be the largest financial drain on your company. In fact, it is estimated that acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than keeping the ones you already have. By following the five tips above, you should increase your chances of making every customer a long-term customer.
This article is contributed by Heather Johnson, who regularly writes on the topic of career exploration. She invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address: [email protected].