Why good marketing isn’t enough

Marketing isn’t just about making something look good and promoting it. It’s about ‘satisfying customer needs profitably’. If your hard won customer feels let down by your product or service, you’re risking your reputation and the opportunity to win more customers.

These true stories (with false names!) illustrate how two businesses have taken a different approach, and the resulting outcome.

The Beauty Treatment
Karen booked a beauty treatment for herself and a friend with Fiona, a beauty therapist she had known for a while. Having recently left the salon she had been working in, Fiona had decided to provide mobile beauty treatments at people’s homes. Karen felt she could enjoy a treat with her friend as well as helping out a new business. So far, so good.

But when Fiona arrived dressed in jeans, and spent the first half an hour chatting, Karen started to feel a bit uncomfortable. Eventually Fiona got her equipment set up and asked Karen if she had a towel she could borrow as she’d forgotten to bring one … oh, and a bowl of warm water.

I’m sure by now you’re starting to get the picture. This was not the professional service Karen was expecting. Where was the uniform, the friendly but efficient approach, the sense of total relaxation and pampering? Instead, Karen felt awkward and slightly embarrassed, not sure if this was a friend doing a favour or a proper job. When she was given the bill it became clear that is was in fact a full-price service. She paid up, too embarrassed to discuss it in front of her friend, but she won’t be using Fiona again, or recommending her.

The Car Clean
In contrast, I recently had my car valeted, having had a letter through the post outlining 3 levels of service from basic to deluxe. I phoned up and booked the middle version.

When he arrived, John knocked on the door, introduced himself and explained that he’d be about an hour and a half. He was dressed in smart, clean overalls with his logo on. I offered him access to water and a cup of tea, but he didn’t need anything. Apparently he had everything in his van.

Sure enough, an hour and a half later he was done and the car was gleaming, inside and out. The bill was exactly the same price as I was expecting from his letter and he offered a loyalty discount with a card to collect stamps on. Collect 5 stamps and your 6th valet is free. He also left behind some cards for us to pass on to our neighbours and friends which we will happily do.

How does this apply to your business?

1. If you’re going to do a job, be professional at all times. This means wearing appropriate clothing, having the right equipment and being prepared.
2. Don’t start a job until you’ve agreed a price.
3. If you’re not sure on what the client (or friend) is expecting, clarify before you go.

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