Sure, marketers have more and more powerful tools than ever before. We know (for example) that you’re reading this blog. We know where you’re reading it (if it’s a business, we know what business). If you’ve interacted with our site, we even know who you are.
More advanced tools combine this information with your search history and measure your buying intent. For example, if you’ve recently searched for ‘the best marketing agency,’ we could know that, too (for a price). We can use that information to deliver highly targeted messages to you based on where you are on your buyer’s journey and place these messages precisely where you’re going to see them.
Pretty neat, right?
But despite all these new toys, consumers have more power than ever before. When they’re upset, they can do incredible harm to your brand (through things such as online reviews and even your social media), and they have access to more information (mostly true) about your products and services at their fingertips.
1 Bad Customer > 10 Happy Customers
Closing the sale is great. Congratulations, you worked hard to get it! While you can still hear the cha-ching of the cash register’s ring, you’d better start working to ensure your shiny new customer is a happy one. What’s more, it’s easier and cheaper to keep a customer than get a new one – unhappy customers cost far more than just losing their next purchase. One bad apple (or review) spoils the bunch.
• An unhappy customer is 91% less likely to do business with that brand again.*
• A dissatisfied customer tells 15-20 people about their experience.**
• 88% of customers read an online review that influenced their purchasing decision.***
• 42% of customers said that a recommendation from a friend or family member would influence their purchasing decision more than a sale or a promotion.****
• It takes 40 good reviews to undo one negative review.*****
* Lee Resources
** White House Office of Consumer Affairs
**** American Express
***** Inc., February 26, 2018
More Information & Less Trust
Today’s buyer has more information at their disposal than ever before. And the information isn’t in the library, back at their house, or office – it’s at their fingertips on a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. It can come from a wide variety of places and a vast range of ‘expert’ sources.
• Trade Associations
• Trade Publications
• Customer/User reviews on Yelp, Google, Amazon, Angie’s List, industry specific review sites, etc.
• Recommendation requests on Facebook, Nextdoor, LinkedIn, User Groups
Although we marketers like to think the messages we deliver are the ones that resonate best with our prospect, deep down, we know better. Consumers have far more trust in the opinions of objective third-parties and aren’t inclined to take a company’s word for it. It’s been documented that more educated, wealthier ‘informed’ customers trust businesses less than ever before – and trust is eroding quickly. In 2018 only 54% of informed consumers trusted companies – down from 74% in 2017.******
What’s A Brand to Do?
Remember that book about how everything you need to know you learned in Kindergarten (or were supposed to, anyway)? The key to success was given to you somewhere between don’t eat paste’ and ‘don’t run with scissors.’ Treat your customers how they want to be treated and be transparent and honest at all times.
When things go well, celebrate with your customers. But when something goes wrong – own it. Communicate clearly, set realistic expectations (and keep them).
More on that soon…