Marketing – is a lot about persistence

Customer Delight, Marketing, persistence, service quality

I had written in September about my trip to Jaipur and how the staff at the Radisson hotel over there were so persistence that I comment on TripAdvisor if I found their service good. Not only did they delight my family and me with their service, they also ensured that I recognised their work, so that more people would come to stay in their hotel.

Today I just came back after a two night stay at another leading American Five Star Chain hotel in Gurugram. There’s a reason I am not naming the hotel here. The whole staff was very pleasant and the restaurant staff was extremely helpful and we had an excellent stay. However no one persisted with pushing me to rate them on Trip Advisor. So even though they gave me excellent service, I will not talk about them.

Most human beings are inherently lazy and will not go out of their way to do something, leave alone leave a comment on TripAdvisor. But if you are in the hotel industry and if you have raving fans, then your rooms will always be full. Its an uphill task to always keep delighting your customers, but terrific companies do it.

This is all marketing and I notice when people do something exceptionally well to delight their customer. In most hotels in India, the service levels are very high and we expect even average hotel to deliver high levels of service. In most western countries the service levels in the hotels are just about average, so I don’t actually expect high quality service. But when you come across exceptional service in any part of the world, you want to laud it.

Delivering exceptional service consistently requires a lot of work, but being persistent, that the service also gets applauded is a marketing task and I think the Radisson in Jaipur and especially a few of their staff with whom we dealt with did achieve that.

When you give exceptional service, get the customer to give you a testimonial in some form. A good testimonial is a thousand times more powerful than whatever you talk about yourself.

Till next time then….keep delighting your customers and be persistent in taking testimonials.

Carpe Diem!!!

Working backward from the customer result – B2B scenario -2

B2B, Customer Delight, Customers, Marketing, Marketing Stamina, messaging, service quality, single target market, Triggers

In my post yesterday I had shared all the challenges that a B2B target audience faces in her day. Having recognised the result you can offer to your customer to delight them and also identified clearly whom you won’t want to attract. How do you get their attention? If they don’t get their attention, they won’t know if you exist and you won’t be able to do business with them. However given the challenges on their time and attention, you window of opportunity is just a few seconds, before you are dumped.

The other bigger issue is that the B2B buyer is not an impulse buyer. She cannot just buy something, until and unless it’s something of extremely low value. Chances are that the need that your product or service is fulfilling is already being done by some other vendor or some other means (the Porter’s model of competitive forces) . If that be the case, its absolutely impossible to displace the existing set-up until and unless the dissatisfaction has reached a threshold value.

So one of the things that works with B2B buyers is identifying the points of dissonance and then communicating with the buyer over the long term. Over a 3 year period, at least 50% of the buyers will face challenges and if you are there in front of them at that time when the threshold is reached, they will consider you. However for this you need to plan your marketing expenses in such a way so that you don’t run out of money before the business starts coming. Marketing stamina in case of B2B is critical.

The other things which could get the attention are typically triggers – I have done detailed posts on this topic earlier also, so I won’t go into the details here. But a new customer getting onboarded or a their existing vendor going bankrupt or a new boss. All those triggers can suddenly change the dynamics, if you can exploit them.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Raving Fans & The Single Target Market

expectations, Marketing, service quality, single target market

Raving Fans was a book written by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. A printed version is not available easily and I haven’t seen it on Kindle when I was searching for it a few years.

If you are fans of the The One Minute series like The One Minute Manager , The One Minute Sales Person etc. then you will know that Ken Blanchard writes books which are very short- just around 100 pages – but with a deep meaning. They are written in story format which ensures your interest in the book.

I was re-reading the book Raving Fans today. Being a short book, I started it in the morning and had finished it in a few hours. By its name Raving Fans is all about customer service. But if you get down to the underlying concepts that they write about, they are pure marketing.

One of the core concepts that they talk about in the book is about choosing the correct market where you can define the perfect experience and ensure you overdeliver on what you promise.

They also therefore talk about who you should NOT have as your customer because then you cannot make them Raving Fans.

Which brings me to what I keep talking about choosing the Single Target Market, because then you get to know your customer intimately and can give them an out of the world experience. In a B2B setting as I mention you also need to go down to the role, the level etc since there will be multiple people involved in any decision.

If you can get this book the Raving Fans, I would highly recommend you reading it. In today’s world where customers shift loyalty so fast, its a must read book.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Amazing lesson in marketing – Part 2

expectations, service quality

This is a continuation of the post I wrote yesterday.

This is special service related businesses. Since I mostly work with service related businesses this is a critical aspect which I want to highlight.

If you read yesterday’s post, I had written about how this hotel’s hostess and the F&B manager served us so well or rather delighted us,and then nudged us onto sharing our experiences on TripAdvisor.

In any service business, the front end staff are your brand ambassadors. You may stay in the best brand of a hotel, but if your experience with the staff is not good, you don’t go back to that brand. I have personally had this experience with one of the largest hotel brands. It was an aspirational brand for me and my family at one point because it was an American brand.

Indian hospitality is well known, so when I entered this hotel in one of their hotels in India and I was asked to wait in line by an uninterested person, I chose to no longer stay in that brand in the future. Now even when I travel to the US and Canada, I don’t stay with them

In the service business there’s one equation which has got imprinted in my mind. I don’t remember where I read this equation but its a good way to depict what happens in a customer scenario. The equation is

S (Satisfaction) = P (performance)- E (expectations)

In a service business its always critical that you manage the expectations of the customers rather than the performance. The higher the expectations, like I had with the US hotel brand in India, the bigger is the challenge for the personnel to satisfy me.

If you’re in the services business, its important that you remember this equation to ensure that you are clearly managing expectations, otherwise you will have disgruntled customers like I had become.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!