Practice What You Preach And Make Sure You Deliver What You Promise Lessons from telecom carriers
Your advertising may be eye catching, clever, and memorable. It may even generate some word of mouth on the web, but if your advertising promises something your company can’t deliver it creates a tenuous situation with current customers. Lately I have come across many instances where the promises a company makes in its advertising are not delivered by the company. The result is high dissatisfaction – companies are setting expectations they can’t keep – low loyalty, high attrition and a fragile customer base.
Wireless telecom is a convenient example. I understand that all the players need to talk about the speed and coverage of their network but there is a risk in promising something you can’t deliver on. So let’s examine the network claims. It’s widely known that Verizon Wireless has the strongest, widest network. They made a claim, which I’m sure you can hear now, and were able to stand behind it. The result – they are the most likely of the major carriers to exceed customers’ expectations on network reliability according to the latest GfK Loyalty BenchmarkPlus.
AT&T also makes network claims. I especially like this At&t 4G Flash Mob 2011 Commercial. But they don’t deliver as well as competitors. They are failing customer expectations at a higher rate than the industry. Not surprisingly, network reliability is a Key Dissatisfier, according to GfK Loyalty BenchmarkPlus, and failing to meet expectations in this area will drive customers away. This is magnified when a company like AT&T launches a mass market campaign about their network. The result is existing customers seeing this claim and saying to themselves, “they are not delivering on this promise!”
AT&T is just one example of this and I don’t mean to pick-on them. I’ve seen this phenomenon with other carriers and with companies in other industries. When companies don’t deliver on their promise it hurts customer relationships, sometimes with dire consequences for their business.
What can companies do to avoid this situation? Make sure that service delivery information is part of the advertising development process. Before you decide to develop a message and invest in the creative and media make sure you can deliver on that claim. Furthermore, make sure your customers’ think you deliver on that claim to the extent you can promote it. Doing this due diligence could help strengthen existing relationships as well as facilitate acquisition. Promoting areas where a company is already exceeding customers’ expectations affirms customers’ choice. There is also less risk of a poor initial experience when a new customer comes on-board. No one likes to be sold something and have it not live up to expectations.