Category Archives: Marketing and Customer Communications

The wrong way to fire your customers – Lessons from Wells Fargo

firing your customers

Not all customers are created equal and unfortunately from time to time as a business’s strategy changes or market conditions alter it is necessary to cull certain customers.

Now this may sound strange coming from a customer centricity advocate but this is the reality of running a successful business. After all with out profits there is no business.

However there is a customer centric way to fire your customers and it does not mean kicking them on their way out the door! Every customer is valuable to a business and that includes past customers.

Customer centric businesses treat all customers with respect and when it is time to part ways with a customer, the company is still looking at ways it can do that in a value adding way. What does that mean? It may mean making recommendations to customers on alternative companies that can help them solve their problems.

A professional colleague of mine who runs a small international consulting business recently told me the story of how he received the message his business was no longer wanted by his bank, Wells Fargo.

He had been doing business with Wells Fargo International (an internationally focused unit within the bank) for more than 10 years when the following message arrived randomly in his in box:

wellsfargo customer firing letter

An interesting way to part ways no doubt! Now I don’t know all the details behind the decision to stop doing business with these customers or this specific consulting firm’s financial arrangements with the bank but it appears like a missed opportunity.

To throw away a 10 year business relationship because of an internal decision about the profitability of a certain part of the bank? Surely customers that received this message would be welcomed by other parts of the Wells Fargo?

What do you think?

How to test whether your messages are customer focused

test how customer focused is your marketing

Customer centricity can be applied not only at the organizational level but also at the functional and ultimately the individua level as well.

When it comes to your marketing communications it means doing what you can to avoid wasting a customer’s time with emails that don’t educate, promotions that aren’t relevant, or product offerings that are too confusing for even a rocket scientist to make sense of.

One technique that can really help prevent making mistakes with your target audience is the judicious use of what is known as Split Testing.

Split Message Testing involves comparing a baseline control message to a number of single-variable test messages with an objective of increasing the rate of response.

The basic idea behind Split Testing is as follows:

1. Define something you want to test for in a marketing message (e.g. pricing, a headline, image or promotional offering).

2. Create multiple copies of a marketing message where you only change the part of the message you are testing for.

3. Define a different random segment of a population to receive each message variation.

4. Send the messages to each of your defined customer groups.

5. Analyze the results side-by-side.

Simple split testing allows you to optimize things like where to place links in emails or on websites, pricing and discount offers, color and font choices, tone of voice and product naming.

It can mean the difference between causing large members of your interested population to opt-out and driving significant revenue for your business.

How customer focused are your marketing messages?

The Secret to High Impact Customer Communications – Lessons from Virgin

A challenge all businesses have is to be noticed by their potential customers.

How do you grab attention with a message that resonates with customers and keeps your business top of mind?

A really great example comes from Virgin Mobile in Australia, they developed a new campaign called Fair Go Bro . It is a very cleverly designed campaign that plays on a major cultural theme in Australian society that is the idea of “fairness”

By starring none other than Brad Pitt’s brother Doug, Virgin has “borrowed interest” via the borrowed interest’s brother!, saving millions of dollars. According to the press release from Virgin it had 1.3 million views in the first week with “no media support”.

No doubt Doug exorcized years of sibling resentment by becoming a advertising star on Australia TV.

So what is the secret? Virgin understands the customer’s environment and how they “feel” about purchasing mobile phones in Australia – they have deep customer insight. They are able to connect emotionally by leveraging the “fairness” idea and make people pay attention by leveraging an unusual idea. Instead of hiring the celebrity everyone expects you to hire do something different – it is this “unexpected” element that makes the campaign stick.

Where does the appetite for creative customer focused campaigns like this come from? From an organization that is truly passionate about the value it has to offer its customers. Virgin has a customer centered culture that wants to stand out, be different and provide products and services that exceed customer’s expectations.

Can you imagine a competitive company running a campaign this creative and unique?