Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

The seven deadly sins, mapped.

You've probably had a customer experience or two that has soured you on a company, right?

Something that has rubbed you the wrong way or perhaps flown in the face of logic that simply stops you in your tracks and causes you to wonder, "How could a company expect me to do business with them when they behave like this?"

It doesn't matter whether it was a customer service call, an interaction with an employee in a store or an online process — if it's enough to make you question them, it's enough to send you to a competitor. Or in some cases, the effect is that you're more content to have no product or service at all rather than deal with an inferior experience.

In fact, 62% of global consumers have stopped doing business with a brand or organization due to a poor customer service experience (Parature's 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report). When you're greeted with regular occurrences like the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing, is it any surprise? You know the seven deadly sins: Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Lust and Envy.

Earlier this week, we were enticed by a marketing resource that was promoted by a publication we subscribe to. Its marketing partner promised "8 ultimate examples of omnichannel customer experiences." When we clicked through to get the guidebook, we were greeted with this requirement:

This is lead capturing overkill.

Upon arriving at the lead page, we were prepared to see some helpful content. Instead, it was gated content. The tarriff for our desired education? No less than 10 pieces of information from us. Needless to say, we abandoned any intention of getting the content. Next time, start with asking for a first name and email address, and develop a relationship from there.

Not only is that overkill (i.e. greedy), but it puts the onus on the consumer rather than on the marketer. The marketer should be in the business of building interest and trust over time. In other words, it's lazy. BOOM. Greed and Sloth. Two deadly sins in one form.

This isn't all that uncommon, unfortunately. According to Starfleet Media’s B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation report, respondents estimate they keep 80% of their major content marketing assets gated. We're not calling for a complete release of all content; we understand the importance of getting vital information from your intended audience. But there are some considerations before you put that gate in place.

Questions to ask before gating content:

  1. Is the content valuable? 
  2. Is it available anywhere else for free, such as a competitor’s website? 
  3. What’s the minimum information we need from the visitor? [Emphasis ours]
  4. What do we plan we do with the visitor’s information?

See, the thing is, most businesses don't intentionally try to upset customers. But invariably, there are numerous decision makers involved, and as a result the process becomes corrupted. Or perhaps an outdated process is simply kept in place because WADITW ("we've always done it that way!"). The resultant subpar customer or user experience leads to more people turning away from your content than if you had asked for less information.

In some cases, it's a matter of internal teams not spending enough time on the UX as consumers themselves; in other cases, managers would simply rather avoid any internal skirmishes between departments. In other words, it's easier to deal with dissatisfied customers (or fewer customers!) than it is to campaign against a strong-willed oppositional colleague.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself not what bits of information you want customers to share, but what you're willing to give up to gain customers.

Image credit: Indexed


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