We often experience situations where different staff within the same organisation have a different view of the problem or need being satisfied by the firm’s product or services.
You also see this across the various documents or content being used by the firm for marketing, promotions or sales collateral.
Now imagine you are the customer doing your information search. Depending on where you obtain the information from, the messages you receive will be different.
It is entirely possible you will make assumptions about the likely outcome of a purchase based on one input. You later find that your assumptions were wrong and you purchased the wrong product or service or that a different product or service, even from the same vendor, would have better suited your requirements. The likely outcome is a very dissatisfied customer.
Consistency of message is critical if you are to avoid this type of situation. That is not to say that you need the message police to check everything but, across the firm, there needs to be a consistent understanding of what problems and needs you address, what delivery capability you have and what outcomes a customer can expect from your products and services.
You might like to try the following exercises:
- Ask members of your staff what problems the business solves.
- Choose a set of products and services and ask members of your staff from different sections of your firm to state what problem is being addressed.
- Have someone from outside the firm review the various marketing and website content for consistency.
You will be surprised how little staff know of your business and how varied the responses will be.
Setting the right expectations, communicating this to all the stakeholders and then managing the delivery of products and services to these expectations is critical. While there will always be unintended mistakes and errors, expectation problems can be avoided.
Customers who expect one thing and experience something else will complain, return products, relate a negative experience to anyone who will listen and ultimately damage your reputation.
Ensuring customers have the right expectations and delivering to those expectations is the best way you have of creating good customer experiences and ensuring you generate repeat sales and positive referrals.
Tom McKaskill is a successful global serial entrepreneur, educator and author who is a world acknowledged authority on exit strategies and the former Richard Pratt Professor of Entrepreneurship, Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. A series of free eBooks for entrepreneurs and angel and VC investors can be found at his site here.