Where has this week gone?  I can’t believe it’s that time again when I sit down with a cuppa and my ear plugs ready to pen the next installment of the Début Marketing blog…

Anyway, in keeping with the “trends” post from last week, I was inspired by an unlikely source this time round, the World Cup, and in particular when they referred to an unsung player as “their secret weapon”.   This got me thinking  about what different tools businesses have at their disposal that they wouldn’t traditionally shout about but that enables them to perform at their best.

In your business, what would you say was your secret weapon? Many people can identify what they see as their most effective “player” but often the key to the success of a business’ marketing or performance is actually something less apparent that maybe doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

Having worked with various businesses and on a wide range of marketing projects in different industries, I thought I would explore what I have come across as the “secret weapons” of these businesses. In my experience, these areas deserve as much focus as anywhere else, and in fact these secret weapons can be harnessed even further to provide a better experience to your customers.

Customer Services

Customer Services are sometimes viewed as a “reactive” or “negative” thing, but the reality is that mistakes do happen in all businesses and how you deal with a customer’s complaint or query can sometimes be the most effective way to wow and keep them. In my experience, some of the best and most highly regarded businesses that achieve great customer retention rates do so because of their customer service.

Businesses who put the customer first and show the most care and attention, and resolve the customers’ issues promptly and efficiently, will mostly satisfy the customer. A good customer services experience tends to strengthen brand loyalty. In fact, a customer who has a well resolved customer service experience is more likely to recommend your company also.

Customer Services, we salute you!

Flexible delivery options

How many of you have had to take a whole day off as you were expecting a delivery between 7am-8pm only for it to turn up at 7.59pm thus rendering an unnecessary day off? Annoying huh! Flexibility in how you deliver your products can help you stay ahead of the rest.  We as consumers are desperate to get our goods or services when we want them. If a company can provide greater flexibility then we as consumers are more likely to buy from them, and even pay extra for the privilege. Just think, what companies do you prefer over others because they deliver next day even when ordered up until 10pm,  or you can track your order, or you can specify a day, date and time?  Being accommodating goes a very long way…

Obviously there are some businesses that do not deliver anything ‘“solid” as such, but what they will deliver will be information and customer service, and it’s just as important to make sure that customers have the flexibility to access and receive this where and when they want it.

Flexible delivery options – you shall go to the ball!

Returns Policies

This one is similar to a flexible delivery policy and is a double whammy when combined with it.  A clear and simple returns policy can help your business with customer retention and people swithering between you and someone else. If you eliminate the risk from a situation and in this example make it pain free to return a product, the whole process becomes simple and then what does the customer have to lose?  I know that it makes me more willing to buy.   For example, I gave a new company a try simply because their returns policy went something like this ‘ return your item free of charge with no questions asked, here’s a pre-addressed label and some packaging to make it easier and  a nice chap will be along to collect it from your home’.   Yippee, I will pick that any day over having to pack and address an item myself before trailing all the way to the post office to mail it.

Returns policies – we back you!

Quality Guarantees

Although some people see these as clichéd and a little old fashioned, a money back guarantee or price promise or something of a similar ilk can be a real secret weapon that sets you above competitors.  Being confident in your products quality gives consumers confidence, and it shows a quiet but effective confidence and reassurance about the quality.

Some companies try too hard though to get over quality by other means, but confidence to replace or refund a customer if they are not happy is a silent but effective weapon.

Quality Guarantees – Good on you!

Your Customers

This one is becoming really big, your customers are sometimes your most effective weapon. They are your brands biggest advocates and their word of mouth promotion of your brand can help influence other customers and potential new customers. Using customer testimonials in your marketing literature will give more credibility to your product than you saying it is great as it’s a form of recommendation.  If you are based mainly online then make sure and have product/service reviews, good social media interaction with customers, and that your customers can recommend or email their friends about you.  Consumer generated content is becoming really big and is something that customers will relate to, plus it acts as a genuine endorsement.

Customers – we buy into you!

I have so much that I want to say about the last “unsung hero” that next week we will take a more in depth look at how to use your own customers as part of your marketing team.

What’s your business’ secret weapon?

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