Internet marketing tips for your small business.

Satisfaction Is A Moving Target

If you operate a business where customer service matters—and I think that’s just about any business—then I highly recommend Harry Beckwith’s books. He wrote a series of outstanding books in the nineties aimed at service businesses preaching the advantages of of delighting your customers and explaining how to shape wonderful client experiences.

Recently, I’ve been re-reading some of these books to make sure Juicy Results has the kind of remarkable touch points that I enjoy from my favorite companies.

There is a great chapter in The Invisible Touch titled “What is Satisfaction” that makes a very overlooked point: every time you delver, the client’s expectations go up just a little bit. Just as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains, we’re only satisfied for brief moments at a time, and then our expectations rise. It’s just human nature.

I won’t try to cover the recommendations Beckwith makes to embrace and take advantage of this behavior, but it did inspire a few ideas about how this knowledge should be applied to your website marketing.

Don’t meet expectations, exceed them.
As Harry mentions in his opening argument for the section, if you’re considering hiring him as a speaker, and you call a past client to inquire about his performance and impact on their company, you’d probably expect to hear something more compelling than “I was satisfied.”

For some reason, we’ve set the bar in American business as satisfying our customers. Yet, the companies that experience the most explosive growth and profits are typically those that thrill their clients. Talk to any Netflix, Zappos, Chipotle or Geek Squad clients about their experiences and they’ll likely go on and on about how remarkable their products and services are.

Without a doubt, you have to identify the basic expectations clients will have when designing your website, such as information about your company, products and warranties. Then, once you’ve got those bases covered, ask yourself how you can present this information in a remarkable way. What other information might your client appreciate, but not expect, to find on your site? Progressive hit the jackpot when they allowed you to see quotes from other competing insurance providers on their website. Can you imagine how this went over internally when it was first proposed?

Understand where the expectation bar is—then overshoot it.

What exceeds expectations today, only meets them next week.
This is the moving target. Once you deliver this level of service or experience a couple times, it starts to become my expectation. And, a few of your competitors may start to take notice and replicate those practices. These heightened expectations now become the new bar, and you have to continue to push. This illuminates the need for a regular creative review and improvement to your website to not only expand, but just to keep up.

Ask yourself how often you are updating your website with fresh content. Do you regularly review your website and refine the way you serve or educate your current and prospective clients? Maybe you can innovate a better way to help your clients find the perfect product for their needs or connect with other similar customers who they may be able to share information with.

Some of these adjustments may be minor refinements or just new articles or blog posts. The key is that if I visit your site ninety days later and nothing has changed, then I am likely to experience some disappointment. Especially as all the other sites I visit—even your competitors’ sites—are growing and improving.

Your website may be the first experience of your brand.
You are different from your competitors, right? There are a number of reasons a client should do business with you, even pay a premium to work with you. A visit to your website may be the initial and only experience they have with your company when selecting vendors. Before the client even calls or meets with you, this can set their expectations and perception of everything going forward. Why not start with a bang?

If you offer high-touch, premium service, you can demonstrate this through your website. If you are highly valuable and sought after experts who only work with the best, I need to believe it and experience that online.

If your site seems ignored, outdated or unclear—I may feel your product or service is neglected as well (wrongly or rightly, but perception is reality).

Set the stage for their experience with you and maintain that in all your interactions—online or off.

Every day, our expectations of the service and information available to us online increases. Companies in and around your industry are raising the quality of our online interactions, and your business should not only be keeping up, but pushing them for your clients.

Once you’ve caught up, the results will make it easy to stay focused on pushing ahead.

Jeremy Pound
Written By Jeremy Pound

January 17 2011 in Blog, Internet Marketing Terms, Strategic Advice

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