I got an email this week that was just so wrong I almost replied to it offering my help to the sender, as he clearly needed it.
The email started, “Hello Deny, I will keep my introduction brief. I’m Scott XXX, CEO for YYY.” He was informing me about his company’s training offers, which he then went on to explain in excruciating detail! What was wrong with this email? Well a lot, for which I thank him, as it gives me a perfect example of what we need to do when looking to connect with our own current or potential customers:
- My name is Denyse not Deny. If you are going to write to someone, get their name correct. This is the second time I have received a letter that was not correctly addressed this week! This attention to detail is absolutely essential, otherwise customers are likely to feel that you don’t care enough to get their name right, so why bother reading any more!
- Scott started by saying he would keep the introduction short, but I could see from the length of the email that he hadn’t done this for the contents. I’ve noticed that when someone takes space to say he’s going to be short then it’s certain he won’t be! People are less patient today so delivering the goods as quickly as possible is the second business essential.
- He is offering marketing training; I’m a customer centricity champion and know a lot about marketing. Clearly he didn’t segment his list and select the most relevant group to whom he offered the training. Relevance is the only way to be of benefit to customers.
- The letter mentioned that “We proud to be partnering with …” No, that’s not an error on my part, it’s taken directly from the mail. I don’t know if Scott is non-mother-tongue English but if you’re selling professional services, you have to be professional. (>>Tweet this<<) I know I make mistakes too from time to time, but in a mailing going to hundreds or even thousands of people, it’s definitely worth getting a spelling and grammar check made.
- Highlighted in the text is a bold claim that “Quite simply, our e-Learning curriculum will be the cost-effective way to build … skills, knowledge and capabilities.” My question is why? No mention of prices is given so why has he made such a claim? Today’s customers want proof not just thin claims and promises. (>>Tweet this<<)
- Towards the end of the email I am told that “This information is being shared with the understanding it will not be shared with others outside our consortium partnership team.” What? I’m not a partner and you’ve just shared it all with me! Is it supposed to make me feel special or threatened? Either way I’m not buying, sorry. We need to give something to our customers, be of value to them before asking for their collaboration and respect. (>>Tweet this<<)
- The last sentence sums up all of these errors beautifully; “Deny, I look forward to further discussion and to understand your interest as a consortium partner.” As far as I know we haven’t had a discussion yet; YOU Scott have been talking AT me. We haven’t had any sort of engagement and I will definitely not be responding, as I have absolutely no interest in what you are trying to sell me.
To conclude, I’d like to thank Scott for this week’s Blog post topic and for these valuable lessons that I can now share with all my followers and readers.
What should Scott have done?
To sum up the above seven learnings, when looking to engage potential customers and convince them to buy what you have to offer:
- Pay attention to details. We all like to think we’re different so treat your customer as an individual, not just a number or name on a list. And get the name right please!
- Fast is never fast enough, so if you promise fast or easy service then you have to deliver. Adding an example or proof of what you have already done in the past, will also help customers believe you can give it to them too.
- You can only attract customers by being relevant to their needs or desires. This means it is essential to segment your mailing list when identifying your target customers. If you try to attract everyone, you end up being too general and appealing to no-one.
- You want to build a great reputation with your customers so decide on your personality and then fully support it. Fun, serious, professional or creative, choose how you want to be perceived and then live it and demonstrate it in everything you do.
- Stand by your claims and deliver on your promises. It’s a waste of money to make advertising claims that will not be met in the customer’s experience. You may get the first sell but there will be no repeat purchases, no loyalty. And you might also damage the company image too!
- To be valued you need to first give value. Respect and trust are built over time, not through one connection. Be patient and consistent and they will follow.
- Customers want connection and engagement. Whether it is online, on your website, your advertising or your CRM activities, share information the customer wants to hear, not (just) what you want to share. Listen more than you talk; that is the start of a discussion and relationship building.
Thanks to Scott, I was reminded of some of the essential rules of customer engagement. Hopefully I live them every day; at least I try really hard to do so.
Do you have examples where a brand has not respected you or one in which you lost trust because of their behaviour? If so, then I would love you to share them here.
If you are struggling to gain the respect and trust of your own customers then contact us for a short discussion on how we might help; I’m sure we can.