Josh Brammer in General on Tuesday, January 8, 2013
As marketers, it is important to remind ourselves of how to keep our customers happy by treating them well. Let's go back to school and learn some lessons from the old Nursery Rhyme:
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.
Poor Peter Peter. It's an age-old story of a guy who just doesn't get it. Maybe he was boring. Maybe he couldn't cook. We don't get the details from the story, but the end result is there. Peter simply didn't have the chops to keep his wife interested, so she wanted to leave.
That's when things get a bit tricky. Instead of letting her go, he fashions a larger-than-life Pumpkin Cage and locks her up. Oh boy. Not the best idea on how to improve a relationship. But, there is truth in every story, and this story holds some important business lessons on how to treat your customers.
Lesson #1: Don't keep customers hostage.
The first lesson Peter Peter can teach is that holding your customer hostage is never a good idea. People know when they are trapped (by poor customer service, a promise in the sales process that you didn't keep, long yearly contracts). Find ways to make it super easy for customers to continue to do business with you. If they decide they need to take their business elsewhere, do your best to help them.
Lesson #2: Customer churn is natural, plan for it.
Customers naturally come and go in business. Not every customer will need your products and services, and timing may plan a part in when customer are ready to do business. This turnover is called "Churn" by marketers, which gives the visual of the natural flow of customers and prospects.
Realizing that churn is a natural part of business will help you with lessons one (Don't keep customers hostage). It will also help you focus energy on finding new ways to connect to the next wave of customers as they grow into your service offerings. Can you find ways to make your products more accessible to people who only need them one time a year, or whatever frequency makes sense for your customers needs?
Lesson #3: Make sure you deliver after the sale.
Let's face it, Peter broke his promise. Something changed from the wedding day and his wife wanted out. The same thing can happen in a customer relationship. If promises from the sales or marketing teams are not delivered, the customer will notice. They may not say anything, and may skip putting it on a feedback form. Dissatisfaction often builds over time, so make sure you give plenty of opportunity for the customer to raise their hand and say "I need some help here!"
Lesson #4: Learn to market well using high quality content
The final verse of the nursery rhyme is less know, but holds an important key to Peter Peter's fate.
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had another and didn't love her;
Peter learned to read and spell,
And then he loved her very well.
In the final verse, Peter gets a second wife and almost repeats the same cycle. But then at last! Peter gets smart and changes his tactics. My hunch is that he got some outside perspective on his situation. Maybe he hired a consultant, or a got a coach to help him figure out where to focus his improvement. The same may be helpful in your organization.
Some marketing teams have not put a finger on why customers don't respond to their marketing efforts. Simply put, if marketing isn't done well, the customer knows. Graphic design, web design, and great copywriting all play a part in building trust and 'showing the love' to your customers. If you respect their time and money, then take the time to craft great messages and images for your products and services.
Wherever you are in your marketing, remember to treat your customers well. The more human you can be in your marketing, the more effective it will be long-term. Did we miss anything? What truth do you glean from the story of Peter Peter that could help your organization?