The 5 Deadly Sins of Voice Mail

telephoneAs a marketing or even simple communication tool voice mail is pretty dead. The telephone, a form of communication that has received only minor tweaks in the last 100 years, just doesn’t provide much to like these days. My perfect telephone would have a status feature, like IM, and transcribe all calls and responses and store them via email.

If you ever call me you’ll notice that I suggest in my voice mail message that you send me an email, so there’s a pretty good bet that if you leave a message the barrier to a call back might be high. It’s not that you’re not important enough, it’s just not how I work. If you’re calling someone because you have something you would like to sell them, then you better not commit one of the following sins or you can forget about a call back.

No reason for call

This is one of the worst. You call someone and say, “hey Bob, this is Sandy, give me a call.” Even if Bob and Sandy are best buds this one is a crime. There’s a good chance that Sandy just needed to know what time the meeting is today and should leave that info for one of a dozens possible ways that Bob can respond. If Sandy really wants a call back because she wants to sell Bob something, then this borders on silliness.

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Exceeding Delivery Expectations as a Strategic Marketing Process

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surpriseI often find that the secret to success in business, and perhaps in life, is to exceed expectations. But, the one area where businesses let customers down most in the expectation arena is delivery.

Now, understand that as far as I’m concerned delivery can mean shipping a physical product, delivering a result, or filing an RFP. No matter what a prospect or customer is expecting in any form, how and when they receive it is an opportunity for your business to stand out or, not.

Set them first

One of the things to keep in mind about expectations is you have the ability to set them so failing to exceed them is kind of silly. I’m going to suggest you do things that set proper expectations, fully anticipating exceeding them. Over the years I learned the hard way that once you set expectations, even if they were beyond the customer’s request, but don’t meet them, you’ve failed. On the other hand, if you set expectations, even if they were less than what the customer requested, but them beat them, you win.

When you buy shoes from Zappos the standard shipping is advertised as 3-5 days, yet I know they routinely ship some percentage of orders overnight, no matter what the customer requests. I’ve see customers crow on Twitter about ordering online in the afternoon and getting their new shoes the next morning – expectations blown away.