This sounds obvious, right?! But believe it or not, way too many brands have a tendency to inflame problems during the critically important hour of need.
When the care factor falls to sub zero
Let’s explore for example the world of IT for SMEs. The reality is that for most big corporates, little SMEs are not big enough to be that important. Your problems are your problems and the care factor is low. That’s because the ‘system’ is often designed to do the bare minimum and shuffle you along the process and out the door as quickly as practical!
I recently endured this type of ‘passing the buck’ experience first-hand with a big electronics retailer and PC manufacturer. This started when my laptop wouldn’t start. After blame shifting, misinformation and an online system with no updates, this ended 29 days later with a text message to ‘Grey’ (assume that was me) advising that all I needed was a new power chord.
In my hour of need and when it mattered most, both brands failed miserably!
When the approach is human-centred
In contrast, www.steammarketing.com.au was built on SquareSpace. They don’t have a shop. They probably don’t even have a phone number. But wow, their award winning service is amazing. This brand has embraced the idea of the consumer concierge. The self-service options are terrific, with instructions, forums and video formats to cater for different styles of learning.
At one point, I was struggling to make a change. So I raised a request online and had a personalised response within an hour, including a video of my website (not a generic monster) quickly explaining exactly what I needed to do and adding value along the way. What could otherwise have taken the best part of a day to work through was fixed in about 2 minutes.
My problems were their problems and they made sure they were solved!
The combined impact of choice and voice
For the contemporary consumer, choice is enormous and we already have more than we need. The reality is that there are way too many products and services than there are consumers. This leads to the power of choice.
For the contemporary consumer, information is endless and we already have more than we need. The reality is that there are way too many channels and messages than there are consumers. This leads to the power of voice.
If a business is truly customer-centric, that means they are truly focused on anticipating and solving customer problems. After all, innovation is inspired by addressing customer ‘pain points’ in a compelling and scalable way.
But the reality is that being customer-centric is all too often constrained to written words in annual reports and the About Us section on the website. Here’s a newsflash … only your customers will decide if you’re customer-centric!
So why not ask them? Well that’s because way too many brands prefer their own reality rather than the reality of the customer!
Perhaps it’s time for the investment community to pay even more credence to what customers think and feel because they ultimately have the biggest impact on the revenue line! This is precisely why marketing must have a seat at the boardroom table, not because of the logo, colours or fonts.
Those important micro moments count
Remember this isn’t a two way street. For the most part, your customers don’t love your brand. Your customers are humans. And believe it or not, humans are more interested in their own lives than they are in your business! They are busy and care deeply about the people and things that matter most to them.
Most brands (apart from a select few) only really enter the psyche in those micro moments when something matters. So jump in, help out and act like the consumer concierge. Make the journey less like a thankless and dull chore and more like an enjoyable and charming experience. Make the journey the brand!
It’s a real shame that few home grown Australian brands do this well. Perhaps in the race to operational efficiency and mass activity as signals of being important, the needs of the customer have been overlooked. But those that decisively manoeuvre to a customer first model (in actions and words) will storm it in.
It’s time to refocus on anticipating and solving customer problems! #marketingtrends