Yesterday, Jordi and I were in our marketing meeting talking about the obsession with the ‘new’ & ‘novel’ on social media.
Love it or hate it; if it isn’t sexy, it isn’t going to sell.
And while this might make your blood boil, it’s how the game is being played right now, so you can either work with it or fight against it.
Thinking about this made me reflect on something afterwards:
Some of the best business advice that is never acted upon is the advice that isn’t sexy.
But it’s advice that moves the needle, nonetheless.
Take customer service, for instance.
When you first open your business, customer service stars front and centre. It’s the main act and the area which you emphasise and market.
But once your business starts to grow, many companies starve it right out of their budgets.
Case in point — Telco companies. Everyone knows that the major telcos ship their customer service offshore to somewhere in South East Asia where English is not the first language.
And they do it because labour is cheap.
But when the person introduces themselves as ‘Brad’ but they have an accent that doesn’t sound like a Brad, it gets a lot of people frustrated because essential communication is a hard ask.
Just yesterday, the tiler we used for our Melbourne facility didn’t understand what I meant when I said:
“Do you understand where I’m coming from?”
Context: He wanted to be paid before he gave us a certificate for the waterproofing, which I was definitely not going to do.
His reply, defensively, was this:
“I don’t know where you come from. I don’t care where you come from. You shouldn’t care where I’m from either. Are you racist?”
Like, f*ck me, this guy thought I was having a crack at his heritage… which turned me massively offside.
Anyway, back to Telco’s.
So iiNet, after hearing the feedback from thousands of frustrated customers, made the strategetic decision to hire only English-speaking South Africans who learn English before they learn Afrikaans, and they were catapulted to success because they got the basics right.
Customer service is iiNet’s asset, and people love it.
They followed the ‘unsexy’ advice and reaped the rewards.
So here’s a basic rule of thumb that most of us will eventually ignore:
A sale saved is better than a sale made.
Or, as the poker players say, “folding a great hand, when you would have lost, is like winning a small pot”.
This isn’t the easiest thing to wrap your head around — because when we think of money, we think about new money generated, not old money lost.
But it’s exactly what we should be thinking.
Because the first sale is the hardest to make and every sale after that is infinitely easier.
Mind you, take this advice with a pinch of salt — because a small dose of dissatisfied customers is a good reflection that you’re not playing it too safe or only working within your current capabilities and not stretching yourself.
Just remember that marketing too aggressively has caused far fewer bankruptcies than not marketing enough.
But if your rate is too high?
It probably means that your customer service sucks.
While it sounds like common sense…
It’s not common practice because the #1 complaint of ‘big’ companies is that their customer service is garbage.
Apple is an exception to the rule, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Just something to think about for your Tuesday morning/Monday evening.
– Karl Goodman