Tag Archives: Customer

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Beware a drop in complaints

Beware a drop in complaints

Beware a drop in complaints

Like many businesses, we have an external company who provide our IT support. They are very good, quick to respond, and can usually fix our problems quickly. They also provide a monitoring service which identifies potential problems in time for them to be fixed before we are even aware of them.

All good then?

Well, not quite. We suffer from regular IT glitches – software crashes, laptop freezes, updates that remove customised settings etc. I’m sure you have experienced them too. The first time one of these problems occurs, I call the IT support team and then they call back later to fix it. Often this involves them having remote access to my computer, which is great, but of course means I can’t do any work on it until they are finished.

The second time it happens, I ring again and go through the same process. When it keeps happening, I start to get irritated – not with my IT support guys, but with IT in general and the choice I am forced to make between loss of functionality and lost productivity while it is being fixed. It’s particularly galling when I’m paying a monthly subscription fee to the software provider and need to make repeated requests to a so-called ‘support line.’

Eventually, for repetitive minor problems, I stop calling. I restart the programme, or even my computer instead. Sometimes that fixes it, sometimes I just find a way to work around it. I wonder what the IT company make of my behaviour. Perhaps they think things are improving as I don’t report as many problems as I used to?

A change in customer behaviour should always be a trigger to find out more. When, on the surface it looks like good news, it’s easy to take it at face value and move on. A polite “we’ve noticed you haven’t reported any problems recently” style enquiry by phone or email will confirm if it really is good news or, if like me, the customer is suffering from ‘complaint fatigue’ and lost the will to report problems any more. The next time your customer service team report a reduction in complaints with a big grin on their faces, you might just want to ask them why it has happened?


2016: What a Year

2016: What a Year

As 2016 draws to a close, reviews of the calendar year are everywhere, and rarely can there have been such a wealth of stories to draw from.  Whether it’s the sad deaths of many famous people, wars, or politics it seems to have been a 12 months packed with big news.  I was one of 13,000 delighted sports fans who attended the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event on Sunday evening in Birmingham and again there were so many notable team and individual performances, it was hard to cram it all in.
From a marketing perspective, I have picked two stories from 2016 which stood out for me.
If you don’t follow the marketing press and/or aren’t working for a leading FMCG brand owner, you may have missed the emergence of zero-based budgeting or ZBB as it is becoming known in those circles.  Businesses such as Diageo, Unilever, Kraft Heinz and Coca-Cola are amongst those who have adopted this approach to their marketing planning.
I don’t want to appear smug, but it’s a philosophy which we have been recommending to clients since Aardvark began back in 2005 – every marketing expense should be justified for the next financial year on the basis of the expected return.  The marketing plan shouldn’t start with “what we did last year” and then adjust up or down, it should start with zeros in the budget, a set of objectives and a strategy.  Of course, what we learned in previous years (assuming we are measuring our marketing) will help select and refine the activities we choose to invest in, but for me, it’s important to challenge the easy assumption that we’ll do roughly the same as we did last year.  It fits very well with the old saying “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got (at best).”
The other story relates to the voting shocks of 2016 – Brexit, Trump, Ed Balls and of course Boaty McBoatface.  Is this a wave of anti-establishment rebellion, or could it just be that the establishment didn’t really understand its customers?  As marketers, we should never be surprised by the decisions our customers make – if we are then we have a gap in our understanding and that will make it harder for us to succeed.  Whether we’re trying to get people to vote for us or buy our goods and services, if we keep failing to understand what makes them tick we’ll probably get an unintended and disappointing result.
So as you look forward to 2017, my advice is to keep working to understand your customers and prospects and challenge everything in your marketing plan – does it really deserve to be there?
I hope you have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Part on good terms

Part on good terms

Part on good terms

One of my clients was very happy when I visited him on Tuesday morning.  Nothing to do with marketing, but as a lifelong Manchester United fan he had just heard about them signing Paul Pogba for £89M.
When I read some of the media coverage about the signing, one thing really stood out to me.  Although Pogba had left Manchester United 4 years ago as a 19-year-old, he seemed to have done so without upsetting anyone.  And as he left Juventus to become a Manchester United player again, he said some very nice things about the Italian club and their fans.  So many top footballers seem to leave their clubs with an exchange of unpleasant words and with the undying hatred of the fans, it was good to see such an amicable transfer.
In business, when one party decides to end a relationship it can be tempting to voice frustrations, try to squeeze out some more money or just make life difficult for the other person, but the short term pleasure this may bring rarely turns out to be a good decision.  One of our clients is currently switching creative agencies and the ‘old’ agency are behaving in a way that could at best be described as unhelpful.
They appear to have given little thought to who their ex-client knows or who might ask them about creative agencies they have worked with.  They may even meet them again in different circumstances.
When a supplier or customer decides it’s time to end your relationship it’s far better to shake hands, offer help and wish the other party well.  You might even ask them for a testimonial or a referral.


Handwritten letter

Genuine communication in a virtual world

Genuine communication in a virtual world

As marketers in today’s virtual world it can be all too easy to get swept away into the virtual sea of online communication.

Don’t get me wrong, online marketing is brilliant, creating relationships with our clients through social media is important. But, we must remember that it is still no substitute for reality. I would always remember the company that gave me a cake and indeed would tell my friends. A picture of a cake on a company’s social media feed might make me smile, might make me hit “like” but there the engagement would stop.

As marketers our job is about building relationships. We have moved away from simply shouting out to the world that our product is the best and have moved towards engaging our customers in conversation so that we remain in their minds. There are many forms of media available these days, and as our technology expands I’m sure there will be new ones becoming available. To a certain extent we have to select the media that our customers are most happy with, after all we want to make it easy from them to engage with us. However with the diversity of choice available we sometimes forget one of the oldest forms of interaction – the letter.

A handwritten letter inspires emotions in a way that updating a Facebook status cannot hope to touch. Don’t be fooled into thinking that we have gone past the age of the letter. A letter represents the time and thought that has gone into it. Cake, of course, would top everything, but a handwritten letter would stay in my mind long after the cake had gone.

To find out more about how mixed media marketing can help your business why not give us call on 0121 2225743,  or send us an email to gill@aardvarkmarketingconsultants.co.uk or listen to our webinar, ” Multi-Media Marketing”

Happy marketing!