Category: Communications

When Details and Options Confuse

I went to a natural pharmacy I like very much and saw that flu shots were available. So I decided to get one.

Pharmacist: Do you want it subcutaneous or intramuscular?

Me: I don’t know. What’s the difference?

Pharmacist: One is under the skin, the other is the muscle.

Me: Is there another difference?

Pharmacist: One is a big needle and one is a small needle. Read more

It Takes a Real Voice to Give Customers a Voice

Elvis at the mic

Knowing how your customers feel about you benefits you just as much as it does them (assuming you actually make improvements to fit their needs).

You can use that feedback to improve services, promote the results you offer and sharpen your marketing message. But it can also build good will…or not.

The key is being and sounding authentic — actually caring whether someone had a good experience dealing with you.

Recently, I had just such an experience with Voicebox, a karaoke place with personal party rooms. The day after a group of us celebrated a friend’s birthday, I received an email saying I rocked (I like to think I did.) and thanked me for bringing my party there. They like to reward employees for a job well done and asked if I’d like to comment. For an added touch, they included our playlist.

On the other hand, there are companies — whose products I use and like — that send surveys I’m initially happy to fill out, only to feel several pages in that I’m working too hard. The surveys smack of statistic gathering, and worse, a veiled attempt to tell me how great they are given the bias of the questions.

That’s when I quit these surveys and leave feeling worse about the company than I did before.

Two requests for feedback. Two completely different ways of connecting.

Sounding and acting as if you really care is also a good way to share your brand voice through your values. For small companies who remain vexed about what a brand is and how to promote theirs, this is one such tool.

Rock on.

(Image: Kevin Dooley)

Brevity Is the Soul of Wit

…wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet. Only most of us aren’t brief.

You have pressing information, a delicious new product or a life-altering service that benefits the world! You believe in it, which is essential for success. It propels you and keeps you going even on the worst days.

The problem is, you don’t connect to your potential fans through belief alone. A mass of information sits between you and them—the ones who will really get you and like what you offer. Read more

Messagecraft: Benefits Light the Path

If there’s one thing you can do to activate your brand image, it’s to improve your writing.

Better writing connects with your customers or prospects.

People feel connected if, when reading your copy, they feel like you have considered their desires, fears or needs.

And people who feel that way want more of what you’re selling. This goes for selling a plumbing service, getting people to read your annual report or attracting new members.

One thing that prevents this connection from happening is a focus on features, often masquerading as benefits. Read more

Elegance: The Forgotten Small Stuff

In any project or effort, there is big vision, small details and everything in between. It all matters, but it’s the details that are most noticed by the end user.

Well, not so much noticed as felt. This is an important distinction.

What is felt is delight…or annoyance. Clarity…or confusion. Satisfaction…or stupidity.

It would be one thing if the customer intellectualized what didn’t work. But most often, they feel lazy, tired or stupid. In The Design of Everyday Things, author Donald Norman explains that people tend to blame themselves when something doesn’t work, even if the flaw is in the design.

In this great TED talk, ad guru Rory Sutherland describes with humor the bad decisions businesses and organizations foist on unsuspecting customers. Read more