I read something the other day that got me thinking.
Businesses spend over $200 Billion on advertising and yet surveys show that only 4% of customers trust advertising as a source of information about products and services. I’ve written about this before and how word of mouth, consumer review sites, and other social media are far more important these days in many purchase decisions than is good old advertising.
Think about your own shopping habits. You are interested in something, and the bigger the purchase (TV, technology, a car) the more likely you are to research the heck out of it. Anyone you know bought something major without asking around or checking it out? Much of the time, that “checking out” process happens in a physical store but many of us window shop online as well. Maybe it’s advertising that precipitates the desire for a product but it’s what happens next that sells it.
I was in an unfamiliar store the other day and couldn’t find something. I asked an employee who was replenishing the shelves where I might find the item, fully expecting an “aisle 5” sort of response. Instead, he put down his box and walked me over to where the item should have been. When it wasn’t there, he said “wait here” and went in the back to find me what I needed. I was feeling the love and this store will be a regular part of my shopping. Yes, it was advertising that got me in but had he just directed me to an aisle I would have left the store empty-handed, unlikely to return.
Maybe “customer love programs” needs to be a budget item. Many retailers cut back on floor help after the holidays while increasing advertising. Is that backwards? Might money spent on customer service – read that as retaining existing customers – have a better ROI than on the ads designed to attract new ones? A happy customer might not tell everyone about how great your products are unless they’re asked, but I can guarantee a large percentage of them (studies show 95% take action) WILL tell their friends how horrible you are (79% told others) should they be unhappy with you or have a bad experience.
We all have heard the old Attention -> Interest -> Desire -> Action paradigm, or AIDA. Maybe we need to get “show some love” in there somehow. Thoughts?