Customer Perception – Beware of What You Say

December 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm 5 comments

customer-perception1

In Australia’s media this morning it was announced that Telstra (our biggest telecommunications company) was being excluded from a tender process for a major infrastructure project for a national broadband network.

The stated reason for excluding them was that they failed to meet one of the basic requirements – the document did not include a plan on how small businesses would participate in the project. The response from the company was that this was a “trivial” reason for the rejection.

If someone did not read the whole article and just picked up the headlines and the words ‘trivial and small business”  they could perhaps have the perception that small businesses are not important and therefore of less value to the company. I am not suggesting in reality this is the case.

For those small business customers that did skim the media reports how will they feel about continuing being a customer? What would potential customers think about the importance of their business to this company?

Marketing reminders from this are:

  • Customer perception is their reality
  • Once words are spoken eg. in a sales call they can’t be taken back
  • Customers do not listen to or read everything we say or give them
  • Words and tone of voice can convey different meanings for current and potential customers, business partners, employees etc
  • As the world gets smaller what we say can spread very quickly eg. a comment on a blog or in a forum can been seen and read by many people around the world within moments
  • If you are sending out PR releases or being interviewed be conscious of the content for both your current and potential customers

As we do not have a business without customers, today’s news reports were a reminder to me of being aware of what is said and customers’ perception of our communication.

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Entry filed under: Customer Behaviour. Tags: , , , , .

Who are Your Most Valuable Customers? Marketing Tactics can be Damaging

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robert  |  December 17, 2008 at 8:06 am

    I did read it, and read it exactly how you put it. I have actively avoided being a Telstra customer for a long time and this is just another example of why. All SMEs, friends of Flying Solo and other small biz groups who are Bigpond/Telstra customers should organise to all resign their accounts on one single day and let Sol know how trivial this customer base is.

    Reply
    • 2. Susan Oakes  |  December 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

      Robert, thanks for your comment although I do not think they actually meant to relay that perception. Also I think the stock market is giving them enough headaches at the moment.

  • 3. Ivana Taylor  |  December 17, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Hi Susan! I love how you put these practical marketing lessons from a real example. I think big business will have a rude awakening when they realize that customers CARE about that businesses relationship to their community. I’ve recently heard that a recent study showed that for the first time consumers chose a company based on what they’ve done for their community and the difference they make in the world.

    Reply
    • 4. Susan Oakes  |  December 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Ivana, I agree with you and the thing is small businesses know that providing customer service etc is not that difficult as you have mentioned in posts and articles. I would be interested in reading that study so if you get any more information can you let me know.
      Thanks
      Susan

  • 5. Tom Kelly  |  December 19, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    It’s always amazing to me how large corporations tend to loose touch with the individual and the regular day to day workings of business.

    Reply

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Susan

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