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Posts Tagged ‘marketing in general’

Poor design begets cheap customers

October 13th, 2008 No comments

We all have heard sayings such as “Love at first sight,” “The first impression will never be forgotten” or “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

It shouldn’t come to a surprise that these sayings apply to your marketing communications as well, specially where the customer is going to buy the final product, like a store, a catalog and of course your website.
With an overwhelming number of offerings in the market, customers tend to make snap or gut decisions, usually determined by what they see and their reaction to it. This doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no educated buyers that do an exhaustive research before buying, because there are; however it will depend on what are you selling and how the benefits of your product (or service) are evaluated by your customers.

If you portray a poor image of your product or service, especially during the first impression, that doesn’t match your desired positioning you are in big trouble because you will be losing an important time to connect with your customers. I have seen countless websites that sell computer security and the look sketchy. How the hell are you going to trust someone that doesn’t look trustable?

Well, some people may not like the following statement but the vast majorities of humans are superficial and tend to judge based on appearance (maybe not all, but be honest, you have done so at least once in your life). Therefore if you are selling based on the image or brand your product begets then make sure you are sending a compatible message between not only your brand strategy and your product, but also your customer. You have to make that connection in order to excel on perceptions and expectations.

This is why design is an important part of marketing communications and should be carefully guarded. It should be a tool to reinforce your product or service benefits and if you get it right, it will contribute to consumer’s good will and loyalty. But here is a tipping point on this especially for designers and marketers: Your opinion is irrelevant; it is your customers’ what matters… but I’ll leave that for another post in which I’ll talk about it and about customer-centric organizations.

If this is the first time you read my blog, I hope I’ve made a positive first impression.

A good idea poorly executed is a bad idea.

August 14th, 2008 1 comment

Sorry for not writing earlier but I’ve been very busy.
Well… lets start again…

All of you must agree with me that the most important part of the business is the customer since without them there is no business at all. Also it is overwhelmingly true that the easiest sell is to you current customer. Based on these two statements, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has its reason to exists, helping companies to keep their customers happy thus buying more from them. Ways to implement CRMs are for example call centers, rewards programs, etc.
The question is, what if your CRM system is alienating your customer? Let take a closer look based on personal experience:
The great idea: Offer online (real –time) chat support to customers while they are in your webpage, so they don’t have to call, send an email or go the company’s office. Great!
Well folks, let me tell you that the road to hell is built with good intentions, here is an example. I have Amica as insurance company for my car and I recently moved to a different city so I have to change my plates and my type of insurance, so I went to the web page and while I was reviewing my policy a banner caught my attention, it said: “Get help from an online agent. Live chat”, and I thought to myself: sweeeeet!
After rigorous process of confirming your personal information, I painted the picture to the Valeria, girl on the other side of the screen and I asked her to change my plates on the system for the new ones and she replied: “ I can’t do that over chat, you will have to call.” Then I asked for a quote, and he said: I can’t give you a quote over chat.” What???  Then I asked for information regarding cancellation and guess what was the answer… yes… she can’t cancel my insurance over chat.
So I closed the chat window really disappointed. Just imagine, I contacted Amica to give them more business, that is, more money for them… I went to knock on their door to give them cash and they said… NOT NOW, call me later. And this is an insurance company, could you imagine what would happen the day I’m making a claim for some damages? If it’s hard for them to take my cash I can’t imagine how difficult would be to take some from them.
This is not an isolated event, I had a similar problem with Verizon and an airline (don’t remember which one).  Verizon’s guy was funnier, after several I-can’t-help-you answers, he had the silly idea of asking me: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”… I typed: “I can’t reply that over chat, sorry”
This post could not be complete without making some suggestions to Amica, Verizon and to the people who offer these services (because my best guess is that this is an outsourced service):
–    If you can’t help me, call me or ask me how else can you help me, not just push me away.
–    Remember that the agent in contact with your customer is the face, voice or text of the company at that moment, don’t screw that up.
–    If you are there to answer questions about the services, put the live chat offering only on the pages where makes sense, not where you know you can’t help me.
I’ll stop here, if you want to know more about how to fix these little nuances that will give your clients a headache, hire me.
In the meantime I will say bye to Amica and Verizon as soon as possible.
Have a great weekend!