As a marketer, I pay attention when I am out and about, and a lot of companies need help. From paying attention to a company’s signage during the commute to work, to a company’s online presence, I often ask myself how I could help this company. From things like consistent branding by setting up company emails (dumping Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail), or even something as simple as setting up a voicemail. Believe it or not, I tend to notice simple things as an opportunity for your company when I buy from them. When these important items are not in place, your business can look sloppy to your consumers.
My other half and I went on a cruise recently and decided to park off-site at a third-party cruise company parking with shuttle service to our cruise terminal. We did some online vetting by going to the websites, social media profiles, and checked out reviews. The most common theme with these companies was the lack of online presence. They had a real lack of any tangible information about them online that could help me make the best possible purchasing decision. Because of this lack of real company information available online and like many other consumers, we decided to roll the dice so to speak and book with the closest company to the cruise port.
We mapped out our entire disembarkation strategy based on the parking company’s direction and protocol.They were clear when they took us to the cruise terminal before the cruise “Try to get off of the ship early! From 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., we only pick up cruise passengers at the terminals, so the wait times will be much less.” They continued “After 10:30 traffic is two-way and the wait times will be much longer”. We were among the first 30 people to disembark from the ship at 7:15 a.m. Upon debarkation,, we called the company so that we could be picked up. We noticed the phone just rang and rang with no recorded voicemail, or real way to identify the company. The website did not list the customer service hours of operations nor did the Google My Business Page. That’s when we realized this company needed a lot of help. We thought it would be smooth sailing but it was a disaster.
Something as simple as listing customer service hours of operations on your website and via your Google My Business page can save customers a headache trying to reach you. Having consistency in the information a company puts online can mean the difference between getting more business or losing customers to a competitor. Unfortunately, none of our options did a great job with their public relations. If we were able to vet these companies and not base our decision off of solely location we would have moved on to the next company. As consumers, these factors make or break a sale, which makes having a positive branding experience and consistency for your company all the more critical. Even having updated images on social media, your website, or Google My Business page can give a company a big boost and seem more reputable to a consumer. The information has to be easy to find.
During our cruise to the Bahamas, we took a tour of a Rum Distillery. We were very impressed with the branding of the company and their tour guide who was very articulate and knew the history very well. Looking online there was no question as to when the company hours were, it was written clearly. From social media to the website to Google My Business page. Looking at their Instagram, it appeared as if they had an in-house marketing team or hired an advertising firm. Their graphics were high quality, their captions were captivating, their hashtags were relevant, and their Pinterest profile was wanderlust worthy. If given the choice between two distilleries, I would opt for this one in my vetting process every time.
The moral of the story is that if companies take the time to invest in their public relations, branding and online presence it can and will attract more customers, and make a company stand out above the rest. Small attention to detail could help sway a purchaser’s decision and it could even help with word of mouth both on social media and in talking to their friends. It does not matter if a company just started out or if it’s been in business for years. Investing the time and money can help provide more convenient service for customers and keep them coming back. It can also help prevent one-star reviews and help create more 5-star reviews.