Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Customers Ask: "Why Don't You Know Me?"

You know when someone loves you don't you. They hang off every word and want to anticipate your every wish, and they take the time to know what you like and to offer attention in ways that they know you appreciate.

You know when someone doesn't love you too, don't you. They don't bother with the attention and don't have any interest in hearing what you want or have to say and couldn't care less what you appreciate. This is also how many businesses treat their customers.

In a recent survey:

Financial services customers regularly receive communications for products or services that are not relevant to their needs, or even worse, communications that promote products and services they already have through that company. Consequently, 59 percent of financial services consumers who responded to the survey claim they don’t feel valued when it comes to the communication of products and services from their existing providers.

Among the key findings:

--88 percent of financial consumers claim to receive regular communications for products and services that are NOT directly relevant to them and their circumstances.

--64 percent of financial consumers claim they are more likely to stop using companies that regularly send them inaccurate or irrelevant communications material.

--65 percent of financial consumers don’t feel like they are being treated as an individual with regard to the communications they receive.

--Well over half (56 percent) of all financial consumers say they are less likely to buy from companies that send them information on products and services that are irrelevant to them.

--More than half of financial consumers (58 percent) claim to regularly receive communications selling them products and services they already have with that company.

--71 percent of financial consumers claim to regularly receive documents from the same company at the same time in different envelopes.

“People are bombarded with information, so companies must find a way to cut through the clutter by demonstrating immediate relevance to their customers,” said Chris Stone, president and CEO of StreamServe. “This requires personalized information. Companies have invested a significant amount of time and money collecting information about their customers, and with StreamServe, they finally have the ability to benefit from these efforts by putting content in context—making each piece of communication personalized to each customer’s specific needs.”



But is isn't just financial service businesses that are guilty of this. Every kind of business needs to look at how they communicate with their customers to pay attention to whether they are being treated in the way that the customer wants, or not.

But wait... if you aren't communicating at all with your customers, you won't be committing this mistake! Guess what? Not communicating with them at all is probably an even BIGGER mistake! That proves just as clearly that you are not interested in them as does sending them information that clearly does not apply to them.

So how do you get to know what they want?

Well, it is a very arcane and secret procedure that must be followed.
Known only to the chosen Few!

Shall I reveal it to you, dear Reader?
Okay, just for you, and you must promise to only mention this secret to those most close to you and your business.

Ready for the secret to be revealed?

The secret is...

You Ask Them.

How, you ask? Well, that may be a topic for another blog.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Presentation Magic - Put Your Best Foot Forward

As I used to say to my son during his teenage years ... "Appearance is nothing. And you will be judged by it." That goes for us all, and not just in the way that we look, but in the way that we speak, the words we use, the 'vibe' that we give out and everything else in our communication - both verbal and non-verbal.

I had the good fortune to connect with Lisa Braithwaite today and learn some more about her business. Lisa is a regular contributer on Ryze the business online network and her specialty is assisting people in business, or any walk of life, on how to make the most of the presentations, and public speaking engagements they are called to perform.

What a boon for anyone who is working with the public, be they in sales, or just wishing to communicate generally, and deliver their message in the best and most effective way possible. Like any other skill, it is usually only when we learn to master it that we realize how poor our original efforts may have been. In some things that doesn't matter. "Having a go" is something to take pride in anyway. But when you are establishing your business and building your credibility it really is commonsense that getting help from someone who knows, is the way to go.

You can check out Lisa at her website or visit her blog and sign up for her email tips. Located in Santa Barbara California, I look forward to meeting up with her when I am back in the US.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Reduce Fuel Use

A recent article reminded us the do's and don'ts of getting the best fuel economy from a tank of petrol (gasoline). Here's the short version. You can find the full article at the link above.

Keep to the golden fuel rules

1. Keep the car in as high a gear as possible and get to the higher gears as quickly as possible.

2. Have a light touch on the throttle. For most applications 25 per cent throttle is quite adequate. Hard acceleration is the enemy of fuel economy.

3. Look ahead and read traffic conditions. Plan to maintain momentum, reducing the need for excessive braking and subsequent acceleration.

4. Monitor tyre pressures. Low pressures increase rolling resistance of tyres and use more fuel. You should keep to the manufacturer's specifications.

5. Stick to the speed limit. High speeds use more fuel.

6. Reduce mass and drag. You would be surprised how much unnecessary equipment accumulates in the boot of a car. Roof pods, racks and extended wing mirrors all minimise the efficiency of a car through the air. More weight and drag equals less economy. Remove the bits when they are not being used.

7. Avoid idling as you are wasting fuel going nowhere.

8. Keep your vehicle in shape; clean air filters keep impurities in the air from damaging the engine and can improve fuel economy.

9. Don't turn on the airconditioner as a first response to heat; even the most efficient airconditioners expend a fair bit of fuel.

10. When buying a car, consider its fuel economy.