Category Archives: Customer experience

Want people to take your seriously? Say what you mean.

As a radio presenter, my job was to communicate clearly and to say what I meant.

Then I got a corporate job – in a government department marketing team. You can imagine my confusion. No one said what they meant. In meetings, emails and even face to face, people talked in circles.

My role was change communications for a round of redundancies – management called it ‘right-sizing’ and ‘rationalisation’. The 1,000 people who were ‘let go’, and those of us losing colleagues and friends, called it something else!

Since then, I’ve worked in a lot of large companies, in NZ and Aus, and I still find the language challenging.

Everyone’s ‘shifting paradigms’ to ‘create synergies’ so they don’t ‘boil the ocean’.

It may sound knowledgeable and ‘managerial’ but really, it’s just hiding behind buzz words.

By using jargon and buzzwords, you stop people questioning you. How can you debate with someone if you’re not sure what they said?

You may ‘win’ the conversation, but you also may lose your colleagues’ trust and buy in.

Want your colleagues to work with you? Drop the jargon and say what you really mean.

Scary? Yes it can be. Effective? Always


Good customer experience isn’t just digital

Sophie’s campaign for clear communication

I’ve read a lot about “CX” recently. (That’s customer experience if you speak English, not ‘abbreviation’).

It’s fascinating to see the different interpretations of CX. Customer experience – the step by step, emotion by emotion experience your customer has when they interact with your business.

Pretty simple right? Apparently not.

Given many customers experience your company in the faceless world of websites, apps and call centre IVRs, it is hard to ‘know’ what they go through.

To me, that’s half the problem. When I read about ‘CX maturity’ and ‘optimising the customer experience’, what I see looks more like a digital strategy than a customer one.

Yes I know, we’re all online now. Everyone’s glued to their devices 24/7 (even me – Miss iPhone, iPad, laptop, Kindle girl).

But does that mean the only experience customers want is digital?

I don’t think so. I think for every time-poor, smart-phone addicted online native, there’s a human being wanting to walk into a shop or pick up a phone and TALK to someone.

So my customer experience strategies include off-line options. Call it omni-channel if you want to, but give your customers choice.

Can you handle (telling) the truth?

Sophie’s campaign for clear communication

Have you watched a Youi ad recently? The clean-cut young man interviewing customers on ‘how they use their car’ and ‘why their home is important to them’. Then ‘finding out’ how much they saved by choosing Youi for their insurance.

I find those ads fascinating.

It’s great that ‘Chris from Sydney’ saved $236 on his car insurance, but what is that saving based on? Did he move from another insurer and Youi’s premiums are $236 cheaper? Or did he just choose the cheapest Youi option – and the most expensive option would have cost $236 more?

That “what are they not telling me” feeling undermines any positive messages I get from the ad.

As marketers, we don’t have the luxury of telling half-truths if we want our campaigns to cut through. Customers want to know the whole story, not just the positive bit you want to tell them.

Stephanie Klein said “Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”

Who do you want telling your truth?

Customers are smarter than we think they are.

Sophie’s campaign for clear communication

I’ve been reading about Trivago’s run-in with the ACCC – if you haven’t read about it Trivago got fined for making misleading price claims. This is a typical case of a company treating customers as revenue, not thinking people.

Sometimes it seems that advertising is just promises to pull in customers – without thinking about the plausibility of those promises.

“If you find a better price on the same item, we’ll beat it by x%” – when you’re the only seller of that product.

“Permeate free milk” – when most milk doesn’t have permeate in it anyway.

And don’t get me started on the iddy biddy Ts and Cs at the bottom of the screen!

Persuasive arguments, on the surface. But more and more customers are looking beyond the advertising to the actuality beyond.

As a consumer and a digital marketer, I have this request. Don’t wait until you get slapped on the wrist. Look at your messaging and make it honest.

Show some respect for your customers’ intelligence and tell them the truth. Find the REAL benefits of your product offering and promote them.

Do it right and you can avoid prosecution and gain loyal, profitable customers.