Marketing is all about customers. Finding them is supposedly the hard part. Keeping them is a different thing entirely. Various encounters that I have had this summer, with a wide variety of enterprises, has made me think about customers and what they appear to mean to different organisations.
A large financial institution comes to mind. I had an issue that needed resolving within one of their departments. It transpired that the department could not help me. The problem was that they they didn’t know who else could. Two months, dozens of phone calls and emails later I finally resolved the matter. I think that they have lost site of what a customer is. As far as I am concerned they saw me as a nuisance, which is funny really, as I have been a customer of theirs for over 40 years.
The financial institution in question has many parts, hundreds of offices and thousands of staff, many of whom I have got to know quite well, as I was passed along the chain of “how can I get rid of this guy?” If there had been one person who could have looked after me and resolved my challenge, I wouldn’t be looking at alternative suppliers (of which there are many).
I have called this blog “Putting the customer at the heart of your business” because for human beings ‘Feelings R Us’. If you feel good about a purchase, you may well tell your friends and you may also return for more of the same product / service. The pleasurable experience can last for a long time. Sadly, it does not take much to upset us, does it? An unkind word or gesture; not being listened to; or a myriad of others things can upset the balance of our emotions.
Many companies are product focused. I understand this, as running a business is tough enough without getting all schmaltzy about the customers. Having said this, the products don’t have feelings, do they?
Here are some ideas for you:
* Try and see your products and services from your customers’ perspective
* Ring up your company and see what the reception is like
* Map out the customer journey and see what you put them through
* Keep track of customers within your software, i.e. your CRM
…see: Capsule CRM review