Part 1

Consumers want tangible reasons to believe. “Tangible” does not necessarily mean something you hold in your hand. Today, it’s more likely to mean something you hold in your heart.

Think about this – why do kids believe in Santa Clause? He is a rather silly notion…

Children continue to believe year after year because Santa delivers. He gives them a reason to believe every Christmas morning when cookies become leftover crumbs, milk is missing, and presents are under the tree. What reasons to believe do you give your customers?

Here are some examples…

When you are a delivery company and you say it will be there tomorrow – the reasons to believe start with the initial scan and continue with tracking updates. Amazon does this so well. You receive confirmation emails at each step in the process – one verifying that the purchase was made, and another telling you the product is coming. You even have options to hold delivery or change the shipping location. You are given constant cues that reinforce the promise of two-day delivery .

Conversely, if a repair shop says your car will be fixed and ready for pick up on Thursday morning, but by Wednesday afternoon you still have not been offered a cost estimate to approve the work—you have a good reason NOT to believe.

Sometimes it’s hard for a professional service company to give tangible reasons to believe. You may have to get creative since you don’t have a physical product or warranty to show. For example, an attorney might showcase her resume and depth of relevant experience. A marketing research firm may show its accreditations. Regardless of how you do it, your promise alone is probably not good enough.

Consumers want tangible evidence that you will perform. They want gifts under the tree every time you interact with them. You need to ask your customers which of your actions or features give them reasons to believe in you and which actions make them question your ability to deliver on the promise. You only get a few seconds of their attention. You need to be sure that the story you are telling is one they care about. Do they want to hear a technology story or a training and experience story? The best way to learn is to ask them.

Up Next

Part two of perspectives on how marketing research can help with customer retention

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• Ethnographic Research
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• Customer Story Telling Methodologies