The current mantra for marketing websites is “Content is King.”
Nope. Not even close.
That is a very narrow, technical focus for your online marketing.
Here’s the truth, and there’s no two ways about it:
THE CUSTOMER IS KING.
BUT IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, RIGHT?
Wrong again. Let me explain it like this.
When I say the customer is king, I mean two things. I mean the customer is the most important element in marketing. I also mean you had better treat your customers like kings. You know, wait on them hand and foot, caviar in bed, the whole nine yards.
Fair enough. But let’s start at the beginning.
WHY is the customer king?
Quite a few businesspeople REALLY operate on the principle “Money is King.” Or as Wu-Tang Clan would have it, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.).”
I do understand that people are generally in business to make money. Hey, me too.
How do you get there? Let’s really think this through.
You get money because people voluntarily give it to you, in order to receive something they need or want.
Unless, that is, you are a bank robber or a government. Or a bank. Otherwise, you need people’s willing participation.
But there’s more to it. Because there’s a short look and a long look to this.
Zillions of historical examples exist of tricking people into voluntarily giving you their money. “Tricking” because the customer doesn’t end up with what he hoped or expected to get out of the exchange.
Many of those that operated that way went belly up. Some of them went to jail. Like Bernie Madoff, or the famous swindler Charles Ponzi after whom the Ponzi Scheme is named.
In addition to any matter of self-respect, the prospect of going to jail, or being run out of town on a rail, this is the short look version of making money. It is not sustainable. No repeat customers, no referrals or word of mouth or testimonials. Just lots of churning through new customers. Eventually you run out of suckers.
YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SHOES
What’s left? First, having a product or service which is going to be valuable to your customers which they will be happy they bought.
Then, convincing, enthusing, or otherwise inducing people to purchase your product or service, because they want to.
Nobody HAS to buy your product or service. Even if you are selling the only food in town and people will starve otherwise, they could so hate you they’d rather starve to death.
So, put yourself in their shoes.
What would you want? How would you want to be treated by businesses trying to sell you goods or services?
Is it too fine a point to say you’d like to be treated like royalty?
I don’t think so.
Now of course you could go to an excessive extreme. You aren’t going to have shoe salesmen in tuxedos serving customers five course dinners while they try on shoes (unless you’re selling Jimmy Choo’s). But you don’t have to go all Al Bundy either. You can treat people great and get rewarded with sales.
SO, HOW MUCH CUSTOMER SERVICE IS THAT?
I once had a client in the yacht spars business. You know, your million-dollar sailing yacht needs a new mast or part or something. He sold one of the only two major brands in that line. And he was buried in business.
Why? He answered his phone and returned calls. Just that. Apparently, the normal level of customer service in that industry is “none.”
Well, I’d be ashamed to be working in an industry with that kind of reputation. Wait, what am I talking about! Internet Marketers are barely better than that. We have clients who love us just because we talk to them and actually work on their sites and report, let alone produce results.
So sometimes you don’t have to be very good to be wonderful, so far as your customers are concerned.
But certainly you should be doing a lot better than just okay. And a lot better than the competition.
I bet no one has ever gone broke because they treated their customers too well.
The key point is the simplest of points: To be in good communication with your customers. If you are doing any of the following, you have a problem:
- Letting customer calls go to voicemail.
- Not calling them back promptly.
- Not answering emails promptly.
- Avoiding answering questions, or giving evasive, PR (translation: “BS”) answers.
- Blaming the customer for your not getting requested work done.
- Using any excuse for not getting the work done.
Every one of these is a symptom of an attitude problem: Not considering the customer king.
Now OF COURSE you are way too overly busy, and your spouse threatens to divorce you because at least he or she will get to see you in court. You’ve got to set goals and work out a way to make them happen.
If you are ambitious that is. It starts with the goal and the determination. It carries forward with the attitude. After that it really isn’t complicated.
Periodically, customer service is all the rage. There was a great book, maybe 20 years ago, “Raving Fans” on the subject, and it has been a big deal recently as well. Now it seems to have gotten a lot quieter. It shouldn’t. Because the Customer IS King. All Day, Every Day.
And we all know the King rewards his trusted faithful servants.
SO WHAT ABOUT THAT WEBSITE?
The original subject was websites. How does this apply? I haven’t forgotten what we are talking about.
If your customer is King, then your website had better communicate that in its every nook and cranny.
Not just the words, but how well organized and easy to navigate the site is. It answers people’s questions and works hard to get them to do the right thing: Hire you, not one of those low-life competitors of yours.
The worse job your competitors are doing on service, the easier it is to shine. But also, the worse job the competition is doing, the worse your industry’s reputation is likely to be, and you start out in negative territory, people assuming you’re like the last 8 guys who ripped them off.
So for sure, you should know what kind of job your competitors are doing – and demonstrating with their websites – of providing service. You can strive at least to do far better than them.
That really should be a minimum standard. Every customer is an opportunity to provide great service, build a loyal customer, get great reviews and referrals.
Maybe you can set a new standard. One customer of ours does construction work throughout the Southeast. He has a private plane and flies to see clients, doesn’t just handle it all by phone or Zoom meetings. And guess what? It is promoted all over his website and prospective customers love it too. They know anyone that would do that knows they are King.
Maybe it should be, “The Customer is Emperor. Of the Galaxy.”
Are we clear?