Didn’t your mother ever tell you “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”‘!
Sadly, in today’s world, we have very little choice.
On an average day, we’re bombarded with 5,000 pieces of advertising - billboards, radio, television, logos, letters, emails, banners, PPC ads, circulars, flyers…;
We might have interractions with several hundred people;
And we’ll need to make thousands of decisions.
For us to function (let alone remain productive!) in society, we’ve learned to ignore most of the information we’re presented with, and make very quick judgements with very little information.
- Judging a job applicant on a single page cover letter;
- Judging a waitress by her brief greeting, and the soup that arrived late;
- Judging a guy who pulls out in front of us in traffic;
- Judging a whole company by a single support phone call or email;
- Judging an offer by the headline;
We take a single interaction, and we magnify it.
Then we use this distorted, magnified perception to judge an entire person, product or company.
We DO judge books by their covers. Often we judge correctly, sometimes we judge wrong.
(In Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, this concept is called “Thin Slicing”.)
As leaders of marketing or customer service, we often forget that every customer we communicate with - no matter how short that communication is - is using that single interraction to judge us, our company and our products.
Just as we do, they’re taking these tiny interractions and magnifying them.
This means the odds of impressing customers are stacked against us.
One slip-up, one misunderstanding, one failed expectation - and we’re doomed.
It’s easy to impress if you have hours, days or weeks to “pile on the value” and make amends for mistakes (both past and present) - but most of the time we have just a few moments of their attention.
There are only two ways we have the power to impress, in just a few moments.
We need to:
- Surprise people, and;
- Surpass their expectations.
It’s so simple…
Every support enquiry, every marketing email, every offer, every blog post - think:
What do my customers expect?
Then, surprise them with more.
Imagine if your customers were constantly surprised and impressed by their interactions with you - and they magnified this feeling, and applied it to the rest of your business.
Imagine if your customers saw opening your emails as opening presents at Christmas time because of the surprises you left inside.
Imagine what the effects of this would be on your marketing in the short term, and the long term.
The best part is - this is not hard.
Tragically, most companies do marketing and customer service so poorly that customers expect very little.
So you’ll be shocked by how little it takes to surprise and surpass expectations, become “the good guys” in your industry, and turn your customers into rabid lifelong fans.