Thursday, February 5, 2009

Marketing in a challenging economy…Customer Service, duh!

The question I am asked most frequently is, “How do I get the most out of my marketing and advertising $’s during these challenging economic times?” Big question. The answer came to me during an early morning run along the beach the other morning. Helped along with a great suggestion from my wife, Sally.

Let me to elaborate with a couple of examples. At the end of this post, I have a suggestion for how each of us can play a part in a helping good businesses do more effective marketing to attract new customers.

In a previous blog I ranted about the insulting $18 billion bonuses that US financial institutions had paid their executives in 2008, after receiving $700 billion in bailout money.

I commented on that story in the MacLeans blog where I read it, and it inspired me to blog about it. I suggested an excellent alternative, credit unions. The particular one I belong to is Parama Lithuanian Credit Union They treat me as an individual. They know my name. They smile while they take care of my banking!

To top it off, at the end of each fiscal year, they distribute a portion of the profits back to the members. Got $’s back this week! Surprised actually, I expected to hear that “due to the economic situation, blah, blah, blah…”

Then I broke our new snow blower last week!

I blamed the newspaper for the damage. I ran over a local paper packed with flyers, wrapped in plastic that was lurking under 8 inches of snow. It stopped the machine dead in its tracks. And this is a 10.5 horsepower 2-stage monster that is essential here in snow country!

I am not handy. It had to go to a repair shop.

Got on the Internet immediately and Googled “Snow blower repair shops in Collingwood”. Immediately found a local place, Coxys. Stressed when I called them but was immediately calmed by the voice of the person who answered the phone. She answered all my questions, arranged to have the unit picked up, free of charge, and promised to call if major repairs were needed.

After only a couple of days, she called me to give me very pleasant news: minor damage only. To top it off, they had checked the entire machine as well at no extra charge! Everything was in great shape. Actually cost significantly less that what I had been quoted. And a clich√©, ‘service with a smile’!

Great big sign of relief. I sent the owner Jayson a thank you email He appreciated the complement. I really appreciated the service.

Later, while running, the common link between these two experiences jumped at me. These were confident, well run businesses. You felt that when you walked into their locations.

They took care of my needs.

And that is what I believe companies need to do to improve their marketing effectiveness. Especially in these challenging economic times. Focus on communicating in real, tangible ways that they take care of their customers one at a time. (Yes, I am available to help them do that).

And that got me thinking about what we can do to help companies like these grow and succeed. With Sally’s excellent help of course J.

First, I thought about the other companies that we do business with. Decided immediately to focus on companies that met the above criteria. We will stop doing business with companies that don’t do that for us. I will promote them.

Second, to ask for your help. Think about what companies you do business with that give your great service. Add them to the comment link at the bottom of this email. Forward this blog link on to your friends, family and business associates. We will promote them together.

If we each take action, we can help the real winners grow and succeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.