There’s a struggle for control that’s hurting many marketing departments and the organizations they represent. It’s a struggle to try and control the customer. In many instances, it starts before they even have the customer. It’s a huge mistake, because the more we try and control how customers approach our organizations through unnecessary steps and rigid processes, the more we risk losing their business. Marketers need to ensure they have developed and implemented an easy and simple user experience to generate consumer interest and leads. This allows potential customers to approach their organization in the most comfortable manner that elicits goodwill and trust.
For example, take my recent experience. I like to exercise, and belong to a health club that is cost effective yet slightly farther away from my home than I would prefer. That’s why I was excited when I received an email from my health plan informing me of a new program offering low-cost health club memberships at convenient locations. As I started their process to learn more about the program, my enthusiasm quickly waned.
What I thought would be a simple click to obtain all the information I needed to make a decision turned into completing multiple screens of required information (that the health plan should already have) before I could access the information I wanted. Wearied and annoyed by the process, I gave up and went about my other business.
This is a mistake I see over and over again. Organizations too often fail to realize that they can’t control the customer. They have choices, many of them. If we make things difficult, they will move on. We must provide them the information they are seeking quickly and in the most user-friendly manner possible. Adding extra hoops to jump through will only negatively impact our efforts to establish a long-term relationship with them.
I wish that first click in the email I received would have yielded the information I wanted. If so who knows, I might be with a different health club today.
What do you think? Do marketers make it too hard on customers? What are some ideas for changing this?
Author: Steve Sonn
Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.