Experience Marketing

spa

(This is guest post contributed by Yolanda A. Facio who writes about marketing at MarketingUnhinged.com. Follow her on twitter @yolandafacio.)

Are You Giving Your Customer Something To Talk About?

It’s spa day, I’m jazzed. I’ve been waiting all week for this! Time to relax, unwind. Just mellow out! I pull up the spa’s website one more time; the pictures look great, so peaceful. And now I’m thinking I might need to get one of those cucumber things…

It’s 10: am, I’m on time. I pull open the big glass door and pull off my sunglasses… and blink. And, then I blink again. It’s awfully bright in here... Hmmmm. I walk up to the counter but no one’s around. The phone is ringing and ringing. So, I figure I’ll just wander around a little. There are knick-knacks here and there on the shelves; candles, lotions, oils. I lean over to take a closer look at the soaps and notice that the packages look dusty, hmmmmmm. Well, maybe they don’t sell a lot of stuff.

Finally, someone walks up to the counter; she looks busy - frazzled almost. She grabs the phone but doesn’t see me. Of course, I’m standing right in front of her, which is how I notice the jet black hair with one purple streak running through it. I’m having a hard time looking away… She’s talking really fast on the phone and I’m starting to break out in a bit of a sweat… and I’m starting to feel my blood pressure spike, just a little….

The Customer Slide Show

Your marketing creates preconceived ideas, a slide show, in your potential client’s mind about what doing business with you will be like.

The design of the marketing pieces you use, the tone, the words, all of it create an impression. The person who answers the phone is part of it. The recording a person receives if the phone isn’t answered is part of it.

The slide show your potential customer creates is an image of the expectations they have about doing business with you. Your job is to make sure that all the bits and pieces, the slides, fit together so that the client’s actual experience matches his expectation.

If slides are out of place or don’t reflect the marketing you’ve put out then the customer is let down. Sometimes it’s small and sometimes it’s big enough to lose a sale.

The good part is that you control the slide show.

Make The Experience As Good As The Slide Show

Now, here’s the thing, sometimes those out of place slides are things your customer doesn’t even realize. And that is why you must be diligent about consistency in the presentation of your business.

If you offer blue pineapple, it better not be green when the customer shows up because then there’s a disconnect.

It never ceases to amaze me how car dealerships miss this point. They put an advertisement in the newspaper for a new Red Lexus and it has a great price listed. The consumer shows up with the newspaper and say’s, “I saw this ad (he points to it in his paper) and I want to buy a Red Lexus, it’s a great deal.” And the poor sales guy says, “Well, we sold that Red Lexus but I have another Red Lexus over here, the wheels are a little different and the price is different but it is essentially the same car!” So now the consumer wants to know, “Well why is this one more expensive?” And the car salesman, “Well we only had ONE of those Red Lexus cars, but this one here is great.”

I’m sure you can see the problem. Consumer has his slide show created. It includes a slide of the Red Lexus and him holding the keys. Then there’s the slide where he’s showing all his pals how much money he saved. Except, wait, the dealership trashed that slide.

The best part is the part where the dealership doesn’t think it’s an issue. After all they have all these OTHER Red Lexus cars…..

Do you think the consumer will be happy? Do you think he’ll come back?

I probably wouldn’t and neither would you. Why risk giving your customers the same kind of experience? And worse yet, now the consumer has a new slide show in his brain about doing business with the dealership and it includes a slide of him telling all his friends about his experience.

Creating an exceptional experience for your customers, one that matches the slide show they have in their minds is a win-win. And, most importantly, it has little to do with the product or service you sell. If you can successfully satisfy the customer’s expectations, then when they finally do get home with their purchase, they speak less about it and more about you.

Experiences matter. They are the most memorable part of the sales process. People will remember how they felt when they made the purchase not just the purchase itself.

The take-away: Give the customer an experience they won’t forget!

About the Author: Yolanda A. Facio writes about marketing at MarketingUnhinged.com. Follow her on twitter @yolandafacio.

(Photo Credit: Dirk Herrmann)

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