“Customer Service” Is Not a Marketing Strategy
Hey all you future 4X’ers out there! Thank you for listening to this podcast. I really appreciate it. I am so excited to talk to you today about this subject. This one may smack you in the face a bit….Its ok, I’ll be gentle. This week after chatting some new clients I was struck by how many businesses and other Real Estate Agents, seem to think that customer service is their differentiator. It was my clients who actually brought it up. What’s worse is that they want to tell everyone to do business with them because of their customer service. What most people fail to realize is that their messages sound like blah, blah, blah to the marketplace. Did you ever watch Charlie Brown? Remember the teacher talking to them? Wha Wha Wha Wah Wahh waa. That is how the general public will hear that message now. Its just white noise.
Lacking the courage or creativity to come up with something unique, a lot of businesses claim they offer “great customer service” as a point of differentiation. Well, it’s not.
How many times have you seen some variation of the following statements on the side of a truck or on a large billboard or on the top of an AD or as the topper on their website:
- “We put our customers first.”
- “It’s our service that makes us special.”
- “Where customers come first.”
- “Specializing in great customer service.”
- “Number 1 Agent in Yourtown USA”
- “Service with Integrity”
These kinds of statements are so over-used, they are the marketing equivalent of wallpaper — designed to be ignored. Everybody claims to serve customers well, yet few companies actually do. So not only do you have an undifferentiated point of differentiation, but nobody believes you.
Great service is defined by the served, not the server. Two people may experience the same service, and one will walk away enthralled, and the other underwhelmed.
One person’s pushy is another person’s attentive. One person’s responsive is another person’s aggressive.
In fact, the company is the only entity that should never claim to offer great customer service. It’s like a 15-year-old boy who tries to get a nickname to catch on so his classmates think him cool, it only works if others bestow the label or nickname on you. The moment you claim it yourself, you come off sounding desperate — or just boring.
Here’s another thought: Guess what! That’s the minimum expectation. Not the maximum Expectation. That is expected. The Customer or Client is assuming you are in business to provide a service. If you want more business or return business then you most likely should be interested in doing it right and meeting their expectations or they will vote with their money and make a decision on whether or not they were impressed or not. If it is underwhelming or you fail to provide what they expect then, guess what! You have successfully created a negative marketing campaign for you and your business.
Here’s a better approach to marketing:
Find something that meets two criteria:
(1) it makes you unique, and (2) customers care about it.
It’s true that customers care about the service they get, but because everyone claims great service and there is no universal agreement on what it looks like, it’s not differentiating. To find a point of differentiation, you need to go a level deeper. Ask yourself what you do in tangible, concrete terms, that makes your service better than your competitors. Then figure out how to fulfill that and make it easily duplicatable and economical.
Here are a few example’s:
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car does not claim to provide “great customer service;” it offers to
“come and pick you up,” which is a concrete and tangible way it differentiates its service level from that of Hertz.
- Zappos doesn’t shriek about “great customer service;” instead, it has a two-way return policy. Most online retailers offer one-way free shipping, but very few offer two-way free shipping. Zappos spends its time and money proving it offers great service, not claiming it.
- Schedule A - we use a Schedule A for our listing contracts that is branded and details our 30 point marketing plan to market homes and we sign that document and we go over it with the Seller and tell them that they can hold us accountable to ensuring that those activities are not only done - but done well. We explain that we believe that this is the most important part of the listing contract....What we committ to doing for them to give them the best possible chance of achieving the best result. That is a Value Proposition. See the Difference?
In a crowded hyper-competitive market, it may be something very small and subtle that makes you unique. That’s OK, as long as it is truly yours and customers care. For example, if you ask a staff member at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel for directions, he will not point toward your destination; he will accompany you there. Guests — often late and lost in a new city — tell friends about the Ritz because of the experience they receive, not because the hotel talks about great service.
Stop saying you offer great customer service. It’s not doing you any favors. Figure out what it is about your service — in concrete, tangible terms — that customers value and start talking about that. When they start talking about it a new marketing campaign is being launched on your behalf which will get you far more business than billboards, car wraps or full page newspaper ads or boastful ads expressing your greatness!
Nobody cares. What DO they care about? Ask that question over and over and over again until an answer comes.
We go over a lot of this stuff in our 4X Formula Real Estate Training Course where we are creating 4X Agents who create their dream businesses employing the tactics and strategies that anyone can employ. Any personality type. Any income level. Any experience level. Doesn’t matter if you are short or tall, fat or small or located in a highly populated City of a small town…these systems work. If you are experiencing challenges or having a hard time getting things turned on, I suggest you plug in and learn the stuff that your colleagues will not teach you. They are your competition after all. Not only that you are not them. So why do you want to try to be like them. You can’t. You are not them. You have to figure out how to build a business YOUR way, employing your Strengths and your talents. Utilizing your voice and your way of communicating BUT with the correct strategies, knowledge, tactics, ideas, systems and tools that we give you in the 4X formula training program.
Go to 4Xformula.com to learn more.
Make a Great Day!