Do You Talk Like Your Customer Or Like a Marketer?

16th Apr 2012
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Have you ever opened your mailbox to find a mailer that says, “Thank you for visiting our store. Do visit us again”? I’m sure most of us have received at least one of these mails or heard of them. Though I mostly delete these mails, I also happen to be in the business of writing some of them. This always makes me think, “Will my customer read what I write or will he just delete it the way I do?” This, I feel is a crucial question that one needs to ask oneself as a marketer before we decide to communicate with our customers by one means or another – “Will I respond to this communication if I was the customer?”We often fail to ask this question as a person marketing our service or product. We want to forcefully tell our customers how brilliant and awesome our services are and how important it is for them to use it. You might create the perfect product or service that your customer will love but that doesn’t entitle you to force it on them. If you trust your product/service then you need to believe in it and let your customers decide what they want. And I say this after watching several big brands have the same uniform behavior towards their customers. No matter what your demographics is, customers are not as dumb as we think they might be. Yet it is very important to let them know about your product, its features and its availability in the market. But how you decide to talk to them about this is extremely crucial. It defines you as a brand giving you a face and a personality.

I recently wrote a mailer copy for an International automobile brand. I’m not going to mention the name but I wrote a mailer that would be sent to every customer after the customer’s first visit to the store. I thought I had written it well because my peg for the copy was trust. The message was clearly something like this –

Thank you for trusting us and because you have believed in us, it is important that we take you and serving you as a serious responsibility. And therefore we are sending you, our customer care number to help you on any further services that may be required.

The mailer sounded good to me. It was simple yet powerful. The copy came back to me for a final proof check after the brand’s marketing team had reviewed it. The copy was nothing like what I had written. But that did not upset me as much as the message that was going to be sent to the customers. The message now was something like this –

Thank you for choosing us. Our business has grown because of you. We hope you liked our service the last time. For more offers/services, call our customer care number.

What is missing in this mail? Actually, on first look, it would seem like a mail that is good to go. It says thank you and gives the customer care number. But if you had to measure its impact on the customer then it lacks something extremely important - the most crucial point for any business – a reason/driver for the customer to go back to them. Why should he come back to you? Because you sent him an automated mail? We receive so many of these mails every day. Will you take the time to actually read a message like this? I wouldn’t. It seems like a mechanically generated message with the customer’s name on it. Borrowing my mentor’s words, I would say that the mailer lacks soul.

It is unfortunate that often people heading these brand teams are qualified from highly regarded universities and they fail to ask a simple question – How will I respond to this communication as a customer? As people selling our product/service, we need to always look at it from the customer’s point of view. You exist because of the person on the other side of the counter. The man who once said – ‘Customer is King’ definitely seems like a guy with experience and wisdom. So you better make your customer feel like a king. Everything we say and the way we say it has an impact on our customers. So choose what you say and how you say it because that will make or break who you are and what your business could be.

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