Thursday, October 11, 2007

Communication: Getting to know your customers

Earlier this week I attended a discussion panel run by Ebay. It was for PayPal actually. I jumped at the chance. Why?

Wow, these are real people. They want to get my thoughts and want to hear from me. How great is that? Plus, heck, I have an unresolved issue and maybe I could meet someone who could assist if I needed help.

Yes, not an email address, or a help desk, a real person.

This, folks, is something that is quite relevant today, especially for the larger organisations out there. Human contact is lost. And, with many organisations, the only contact is via electronic means. Wow, how impersonal.

Of course, there is the old "1800" number. And, invariably, you get to speak with someone with a foreign accent, no offense to the people that man call centres, but it does feel that there is another degree of separation with the organisation that you dealt with originally.

The point I'm trying to get at is that as a marketer, one has to know his/her customer and not just empathise and relate to that person, but communicate with that person.

In the old days, market surveys would have been the go. Today, focus groups are more the way the bigger organisations go about this.

Focus groups are in the main used to run ideas by them and get a chance to fine tune the message. This is what did happen in the panel I joined.

There were several people, other than the discussion leader (who was from a market research company), from Ebay. And, not only did they give us a fair hearing, they engaged in discussion and one of them got my details and offered to help me with a difficulty I had with the dispute console.

Mind you that was several days ago. And, I haven't heard from her since that discussion panel. (Postscript: I did get an email, with an apology for not getting back to me as the lady caught the flu.) Which leads me to the final point: make sure your customer matters. If you promise to do something, do it.

Or, you may get some irate customers venting their spleens in their blogs out there and undoing all the good work you have done over a long period of time.

Worth thinking about, isn't it?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Jack ~

Came across your blog from the comment you left on my guest post over on ProBlogger.

This is an interesting post on PayPal and the fact that you got to talk to a real person is incredible. So many people, myself included, are hesitant to use PayPal because it hinders sales...the complete opposite of why it was created.