How to eliminate risk for your customers

Have you ever made a purchase you wish you hadn’t?  

Earlier this year, my friends and I spent some time exploring India.  As we were booking our hotels in advance we noticed that many of the brands were unfamiliar to us.  Thus we were left with nothing more than photos and online traveler reviews to use as a guide for where we should stay.

During our trip we were to visit four different cities and stay in three different hotels.  Things were humming along quite nicely for our first three stops.  And then we arrived to the hotel in our last city.  It was definitely a turn for the worse.  It wasn’t at all what we were expecting.  Ugh.  

The hotel was much older than what it looked like in the pictures.  The window in our room was broken and wasn’t able to be fixed until at least the next morning (hence why that hotel will forever be known to us as mosquito-gate).  It just wasn’t up to our standards in any way.  So much so that I found myself up writing most of the night, trying to keep myself busy to avoid going to bed or using the restroom.  Of course eventually I couldn’t hold out any longer.  That night I slept in my sleeping bag.  

We tried to make the best out of what wasn’t the most pleasant situation, but it was clear to all that we did not want to stay in that hotel another night.  So first thing in the morning, we checked out.  

Reputations help to eliminate risk.

There is some level of risk involved in every decision regarding how to use your resources.  Because we didn’t know the reputations of any of the hotels we were staying in in advance, we had to make our selections based upon other means.  This was risky, but we did what we thought was best based upon the information we had at the time.  And when that third hotel came nowhere near meeting our expectations, we immediately formed an opinion for that brand of hotel:  don’t ever go there ever again.

The good news was that we had had a wonderful experience at the second hotel, and they had a location in the city where we were that had availability for the rest of our time there.  Yippee!  Our experience formed a positive reputation and helped eliminate a lot of risk in our minds that we would have any further issues.  

Upon arrival to the new hotel, we were back on track.  The hotel was beautiful, relaxing, clean, comfortable, and just what we expected.  All the way down to the fabulous breakfast buffet!

What does this have to do with your business?

As you work to get your customers to choose your business over the other available alternatives, it will be helpful to you to establish a reputation, or brand that helps your customers lower risk involved in their purchase decision.  Based upon what they know about you, either from what they’ve heard, observed, or experienced, they will be able to make a determination more easily whether or not your business is one that can satisfy their needs to their level of satisfaction, and according to their values.

Customers will develop a view of your business whether or not you work to shape it or not.  Having no opinion, also known as indifference, is one of the views they can develop for you as well.  And that ain’t a good one.  As such, in building your marketing strategy it is important for you to choose in advance how you would like to be known and then work to establish that positive reputation in the minds of your customers over time through your actions.   

Check out chapter four of Delight Inside for more information on building the right reputation for your business.  Included in the chapter you’ll find details on:

  • Segmentation:  All customers are not created equal
  • Target Market Selection:  Choosing the right customers for you
  • Positioning:  Choosing your reputation (choose wisely!)

About the Author

Sonia Thompson is the founder and Chief Change Agent at TRY Business. Stay in touch with Sonia on Twitter and Google+.
< Older Post Newer Post >