Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

September 25, 2009

Brand is Not Just Marketing

Monday I wrote ‘Part 1’ of the enlightening customer service experiences I’ve had during the last month.

As I mentioned, there’s always a lesson to be learned. Sometimes we get to snigger at the dupe that just doesn’t get it too. You’ll learn from each one while they’re (hopefully!) entertaining you, and in this one you’ll get to chuckle at the numpties who just didn’t get it.

2. Brand is not just Marketing

This is a little embarrassing, but I’m at the age where I actually notice the deterioration in my eyesight. I got new glasses a year or so back, but I knew it was time to have a new test. The opticians I previously used sent me a voucher for a free eye-test, so I called and made the appointment.

The opticians in question are considered the ‘premium’ brand on the high street. Their shops are a little more ostentatious, and their prices that little(!) bit higher. I used them previously because I consider myself too busy to shop around to save pennies, and felt that buying the ‘brand’ reduced my risk.

After the test (yes, my prescription had changed and I needed new glasses) I was introduced to the ‘salesperson’ who was to help me choose new glasses. (Remember, the eye-test was free so I hadn’t spent a penny up to this point.) Here’s where I had to make another embarrassing admission: I have a funny-shaped head. Specifically, I have large bumps immediately behind my ears, so I can’t wear the normal ‘hockey-stick’ glasses. I need frames with straight arms that the bumps don’t get in the way of.

When I explained this to the ‘salesperson’ she got that ‘deer in the headlights’ look – the one that says ‘You can’t seriously be expecting me to work for a living?’ She perfunctorily picked a frame off the rack at random, sighed when it didn’t magically morph into what I wanted, then told me she didn’t know which was which and I’d have to go around looking for myself.

Yeah, right.

So I walked out of their shop and (within a couple of hundred feet) into their competitor’s. You know, the one with the really corny TV ads? Not the premium brand. There a very helpful lady called Helen took me to a rack with the right kind of frame, explained that I get two pairs for the price marked, and called the lab to see how busy they were because I needed these glasses in a hurry. To rub salt into the wound, she took the necessary prescription details from the eye-test I had got free with the voucher at the ‘other’ place. Two hours later I had two new pairs of reading glasses and Helen had put my credit card receipt in the till.

The moral of that story? If you think all you have to do to make money is slick marketing, think again. You and your staff have to deliver a service that makes customers happy, or you’ll be giving away a lot of vouchers for free services – and even then you might just be making your competitor’s job a little easier.

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