I'd never thought about it this way before and it was one of those light bulb moments. I'd heard about permission marketing from Seth Godin before but I suppose I'd not truly understood it. The 'light bulb' moment came to me whilst running a financial services focus group. The group was discussing the subject of when it would be ok for a financial services company to approach an existing customer with new products or services and whilst most of the group suggested they would prefer to contact the company first, one of the group members responded, "well never really. You don't get Next trying to ring me up and sell me their new range of clothing." And that was it - simple. Even with permission marketing, which is defined as 'marketing centered around obtaining customer consent to receive information from a company', that still doesn't mean companies have the right to call me up and waste my time. I'll choose how I waste my time thank you. Great example is my bank who keep trying to sell me an upgrade to my bank account and their 'USP' is free breakdown recovery. Two issues with this (and it isn't just my bank). Firstly just because you have my details (Mr Company) doesn't give you the right to actually call me even if I have or haven't opted in or out to receive sales call, and secondly the actual value and cost of what's being offered is probably less than half the cost of what I would pay them in additional account fees per year, in the example with my Bank. Interestingly, my Bank never calls just to see how I am. The result, is in part probably the opposite of what organisations are trying to achieve. Yes they want increased sales but they also want trust, recommendation and great customer experience. Take it from me. With this type of behavior, you won't get it. So why do companies do it?
Bruce Temkin posts some very good articles on customer experince and most recently this one caught my eye on the challenge within an organisation to focus on delivering and improving the customer experience amidst a sea of competing priorities. In my mind, questions spring forth...what are these 'priorites' that are perceived to be more important than improving the customer experience, and are they really and truly more important?? Admittedly, I see it in the work we do with clients and I still don't understand it. I would be keen to hear your views on this and your competing priorities....Reminds me of a Tom Peters quote, "Calendars never lie. They are 100% accurate and visible indicators of your priorities."