St John Craner: Are you flying blind?

Are you flying blind?

By St John Craner
Advertising.Scoop.co.nz

I am astounded by the number of companies who ignore how they’re perceived. Are you the same or are you being delusional because the truth might hurt? Knowing how you’re perceived by your market is absolutely vital. If you’re not self-aware you won’t know how to relate to how customers. And if you can’t relate to them, they won’t buy.

Telecom, KiwiRail, electricity companies and banks are generally seen, at best, as necessary evils.  Hardly flattering, but are they doing anything about it? The answer is probably no. Kiwirail didn’t compensate commuters for recent service failings, banks aren’t passing on OCR margins and electricity companies are still creaming it having hiked prices up 72% over the last 5 years.  Hardly the best way to make friends is it?

Perhaps if they humanised their business more they might be liked more. It comes down to the old age saying: “relationships are everything”. Now more so than ever as your competitors are ready and waiting to charm and entice your customers across. All they might need to do is show that they care more. Customers want some form of basic relationship and relationships need nourishing and nurturing. Making unreasonable demands, sticking to company policy or not making any compromises is commercial suicide. Customers don’t forget easy and soon as they get the chance to remind you of your failings or inflexibility they will. Big time. Contact got a good reminder of this when thousands of customers left them after their directors fee faux-pas. If you can bend the rules every now and then in the spirit of the relationship you will reap the rewards with greater customer loyalty, repeat business and quality referrals.

It’s like the dry cleaner that says the last item’s on the house, your favourite bar that shouts you your first drink or the butcher that gives you an extra cut. Smaller companies have no excuses not to know and service their customers better. Bigger companies need to create deep, trust-based relationships with their customers. Think about their customers before they think about themselves. Ask yourself is this decision good for us or good for our customers? What’s good for them will be good for you. Trust me.

So have a think about your next move – will it help improve or hinder the way customers perceive you. Will it enrich the relationship? Will it make it stronger? Every action has an affect – good or bad. Remember that.

St John Craner helps businesses market themselves better. www.distinct.co.nz

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2 comments:

  1. stjohn, 18. August 2009, 11:03

    It’s not about giving things away for “free” – you are absolutely right that that isn’t a viable buisiness strategy. What is about about identifying and rewarding your most valuable customers for their loyalty and custom which ensures they keep coming back and buying more from you. If you don’t recognise the value of your customers in some way, someone else will. Everyone likes to be recognised for their worth.

     
  2. stjohn, 21. August 2009, 8:32

    Hello Nigel.

    All good points. I think the point I was trying to make, holistically, is that many companies are not helping themselves. A PA system is a good start but perhaps on time, fully functioning warm trains would be better.

    If you asked your customers what they wanted perhaps you could prioritise and better meet their needs and current frustrations. Could you give them a timeline of when things would happen?

     

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