Today, a client and I received a group text message from a marketing services vendor:
“Need to get your credit card today if possible. Got your bill together.”
I understand this vendor’s perspective. It’s nearing the end of the year, and they want to maximize revenue. From the message’s urgency, it’s likely they have outstanding accounts payable coming due.
But here’s our perspective. Asking for a credit card by text message without even sending the invoice for us to review appears desperate and unprofessional. We don’t have the same sense of urgency regarding this payment.
Recently, I was discussing the end-of-year sales pipeline with another client. We started our conversation with the question, “What will our customers need between now and the end of the year?” By focusing on the needs of the customer, we’ll ultimately enjoy stronger results through customer loyalty and referrals.
To build great customer relationships, all communication needs to prioritize the customer’s perspective.
Small Business Maintains the Marketing Edge with Customer Engagement
In a recent poll with 58 senior-level retail executives, a mere 10% listed store associates as one of the top factors affecting their brand’s customer engagement.
Instead of the people in their stores, 63% of retail executives chose “Brand image/marketing” as a primary driver of customer engagement. Many of those executives also cited “Product choice/assortment.” Here’s the full graph of all the things big brands think are more important than their retail employees:
I’m surprised at how out-of-touch these executives seem. No one engages with marketing communications or product choices, although those are important elements of the overall customer experience. Engagement is two-way communication that is most easily achieved with another living being.
Small business retailers are close enough to their customers to realize that in-store employees are critical to engaging customers by providing service, offering recommendations and selling products. You understand your customers, and that’s one key competitive advantage for small businesses.