Posts Tagged ‘customer’

Do I Pay or Do I Read the Ads?

A few years ago now I remember reading a prediction that companies would begin to offer two types of services to clients.  One would be a paid service, and the other free or low-cost in return for accepting advertising.  For instance, you could get a rental car at normal rates, or get one at low rates that is covered in advertising for a company, who are paying for the car rental instead of you, in return for their message being driven around.  Another example would be a paid drink at a vending machine immediately, or a reduced price one after watching 2 minutes of advertising on the screen.  The assumption at the time, as I recall, was that it was likely to be the younger generations happy to take the advertising and the older consumers more willing to pay for speed, discretion etc.  Sadly I cannot remember where I read it, but whoever wrote it was certainly on the right track because this has become common with some products and services.

I am facing a dilemma of exactly that kind right now.  I am about to source some new webinar software.  I do not currently run many webinars and certainly at this stage cannot justify the high monthly rate of some providers, however excellent their product might be.  I need to start somewhere and the product I am looking at has two options – one with a monthly fee, and one free – but the free version includes the webinar attenders have advertising displayed on their screens during the webinar.  So I find myself endeavouring to answer these questions:

If I opt for the free version, will my clients mind the advertising?  Who will, who won’t?

If I opt for the paid version, can I sell enough products and services from the webinars to cover this and more?

Will my clients have a different view about seeing advertising if the webinar is free, versus part of a paid subscription product?

Does the appearance of advertising during the webinar affect in a negative way, my own and my company brand?

If you have a view on this I would love you to share it.  In the meantime I will deliberate further and let you know in a later post what I’ve decided to do!

Categories: Business and Strategy

Who is your customer?

Firstly, let’s define the term ‘customer’. Over the years I’ve seen many weird and wonderful definitions, all in an attempt to get staff at all levels to implement organisational strategies. In one organisation everyone was told that their customer was every internal person they dealt with – if they did not deal directly with the organisation’s customers. How ridiculous! Defining a customer is relatively easy – it is someone with the authority, means and intention to buy goods or services from you. ‘Potential’ customers haven’t yet defined their intention to do so.

This simple definition means there are only two customers (and for business owners and CEs of Government departments, only one) that you need to satisfy. If you keep these customers happy your business and career is sure to flourish.

Firstly, keep happy the person who buys your services – yes, your immediate boss! Whoever is directly responsible for your remuneration should be your number one customer. Plain and simple. Unless you are unlucky enough to have landed a bully-boss (and if so, I suggest you get out of there quick) satisfying your personal customer ie boss, will take you a long way. If you are the boss, then make sure you are expecting the right things from your team so that your business can grow.

The other customers you must help satisfy are the organisation’s customers – the people who buy the organisation’s good or services. Even if you don’t deal directly with the organisational customer, somehow what you do is impacting the customers, otherwise you shouldn’t be there. Every person should regularly review how well they are doing that within their sphere of expertise. And if your organisation is to grow and thrive, you (and everyone else) must also take a strategic view of who potential customers might be, and attract them to your organisation.

At this point it’s important to note that sometimes the customer is not the person who deals most with your organisation. Obvious examples are government services, local bodies and services for children. In these cases, it’s critical to identify how the customer gets information that influences whether they continue to buy. For example, if you work at a distance from your boss, you need to know how s/he is assessing your performance. Equally, if your customers do not directly experience your product or service, you must know how they are judging your performance, and ensure that their feedback will be excellent.

If you can get the balance right between satisfying organisational customers and your personal customer ie boss, you can have a thriving career and thriving organisation. Your ability to identify how your role can better serve the organisational customer, and attract potential customers, is likely to get you noticed as someone able to think strategically about customer service. Or if you are the business owner, build your competitive advantage.

Categories: Uncategorized
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