My personal habits, likes and dislikes provide for some interesting contradictions. One that I admit to is the fact that I like quality service and products for myself and for my customers. In the eyes of many my other more overriding quality is that I am quite thrifty. Not cheap. I just don’t like spending money unnecessarily.
As with many I have translated my personality and preferences into what is offered my clients through Total Broadcasting Service, my video and audio production company in Seattle. I could get into great detail, but I won’t. Simply put, business owners want quality and lots of money-spending customers…but they don’t want to pay for it. Business owners want marketing exposure and the results good marketing and branding provides…but they don’t want to do a darn thing to facilitate this marketing. They want you to do it for them. And far too many don’t want to pay you for the work you provide.
Hmmm….so as an owner of a business-to-business company with a goal of pleasing our customers and helping those business owners achieve their business and personal goals how do we overcome this clear contradiction in business owners wants?
Here is our personal example. Total Broadcasting Service was a pioneer in the video-marketing for the web services that are growing exponentially now. When we added video to our menu of services nearly 5 years ago our primary goal was to provide the service inexpensively, thus complying with this authors personal beliefs and desire to be thrifty. We worked hard to get early customers in a field for which we had nearly no experience. Upon reflexion I can say our videos weren’t very good. But they were cheap. Our practice was to get a customer, take their money, produce their video and provide it to them and then thank them, hoping they would use their videos well and call us again in the future with orders for more work.
You can probably guess what happened. The business owners took the videos and (presumably) stored them in their computers never to be seen again…by anyone…most notably their customers or potential customers. The business owners didn’t have the acumen or the time to acquire it to post their own marketing videos anywhere on the internet including their Social Media (“What’s that? Oh you mean Facebook and Tweeter or whatever its called?”) or their websites. As a result few of them called us back for more work and some looked at their time and money invested in the creation of the video as a waste.
So, we had some work to do. We chose to improve our services. Going forward, anyone we sold a video was going to have us post that video onto their own YouTube Channel, and if they didn’t have one we would create one for them; and we would post that YouTube video onto their Facebook business page, and if they didn’t have one we would create one for them.
Simultaneously while assuring that the videos we produced for our customers would at least have a chance of being seen or found we worked diligently at improving the quality of our videos. We learned better editing and production techniques and programs. We learned better methods and got better equipment for when we shot video.
The results were wonderful. As expected our customers benefited from the changes we implemented and didn’t mind the slight increases in pricing these changes required. And they showed their pleasure by routinely renewing their orders with us and keeping us growing as a company.
Skip forward a couple of years to 2014. The internet, marketing, search engines and social media are all constantly changing. What worked yesterday may no longer be a best practice. So it was with our video, social media, and internet marketing service. We added services since it became apparent our customers needed those added services to best market themselves and grow their business. With the added services our prices increased.
The good news is we made more money with a few customers who added these extra services and we were quickly able to graphically show results for our customers. The added services and expenses were proving to be worth it. The bad news…not enough business owners wanted or could afford to pay for the added services we felt would be necessary in today’s world of internet advertising. So we lost out on too many customers we otherwise might have been able to sign-up had we been offering them the earlier diminished services at lower prices.
The lesson learned; a lesson that is an age-old lesson in business, don’t give the customers what you think they need. Give the customers what they want. But we don’t have to be so cold about it. There is good news on the other side of this seemingly dark lesson. Once you give the customer what they want, you earn their trust. Upon earning their trust…you can add to the services you provide and grow your business with the customers you already have. After all, it’s an age-old business adage that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. In following this method everybody wins. And isn’t that what you were shooting for to begin with?
Make providing your customer what they want your top priority, work your butt off to make it serve them as best possible. Upon earning their trust and serving their wants…approach them again…give them what they need…and subsequently serve them better.
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