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You Can’t Advertise Your Way to a Great Customer Experience

July 9, 2013

Windows 8What would it take to convince consumers that your business delivers a great customer experience?  For Microsoft, the answer appeared to be $1.5 billion.

Forbes reported that the software maker spent an estimated $1.5-$1.8 billion on the marketing campaign for Windows 8, presumably to convince us all that Microsoft’s new operating system was indeed the best thing since… umm, Windows 7.

And so how’s that working for them?

According to ComputerWorld, it wasn’t so good. Windows 8 sales were underwhelming, garnering far less market share than Windows 7 during its release cycle.

Granted, the Windows 8 user interface is a significant departure from prior versions, so one could argue that adoption would have been slower.  But let’s not kid ourselves, Windows 8 was never really a beacon of customer experience excellence.

The word many software reviewers seem to have used when describing the program was “confusion.”  Software design guru Jakob Nielsen went a step further, declaring that Windows 8 “smothers usability.” Probably not the kind of press coverage Microsoft was hoping for during release…

email marketingBut this isn’t a story about the usability of a new software program. It’s just a sobering reminder that great, loyalty-enhancing customer experiences – the kind that get people talking and buying – can’t be created with Super Bowl ads, stadium naming rights, public relations blitzes, or any type of marketing campaign.

No matter what you’re selling, be it a piece of software or an intangible service, consumers will ultimately judge your customer experience based not on what you say, but on what you do.

The real battle for consumers’ hearts and minds isn’t waged on billboards and airwaves. Marketing campaigns may provide air cover, but it’s the hand-to-hand combat of each customer interaction where true loyalty is forged – the usability of your software, the clarity of your communication, the helpfulness of your staff, the ease of doing business, etc.

So before you hang your hat on an expensive marketing campaign to convince consumers how wonderful your product or service is, ask yourself… why do they need convincing at all?

________________________

Jon PicoultJon Picoult is the founder of Watermark Consulting, a customer experience advisory firm specializing in the financial services industry.  Jon helps companies impress their clients and inspire their employees, creating brand experiences that drive loyalty and growth.  The author’s opinions and posts in no way reflect the Beyond Insurance brand or any other affiliate within Addis Intellectual Capital.

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