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I'm Not My Customer

By: Mitch Ortenburg, SEO Specialist; November 23, 2016
Say it with me… "I. Am. Not. My. Customer."
I want to let you know, I put a great deal of thought into whether or not I would write this article because, being honest, who likes to be told they're wrong? I know I don't (just ask my beautiful, loving & patient wife). But the hunting season gave me some inspiration so, here it goes… Do you know what you're aiming at?

I am a self-confessed nerd and I aspire to be Tim "The Toolman" Taylor. Yes, I'm your ideal customer (ha!). I have a treasure trove of experience at my disposal, being that we're partners with a heating, cooling & plumbing company, but I got a wi-fi thermostat myself and attempted to run a 'c-wire' so my unit would have full-time voltage. At the end of the day, my humidifier didn't work and I could've gotten a rebate on the thermostat if I just did what I should have from the get-go. I would have been better off talking to my boss who has 40+ years of experience and holds a mechanical license versus my "license to Google" – I thought I knew what I was doing. You could take it a step further and say that I thought I knew better.

You could be me!.. Don't be me.

You see, I have had many conversations with contractors asking me "why don't I come up for HVAC Repair?" Another example, "I want my website to look like (example)." To these I reply, "Okay, I understand why you want that… but here's why that's not in your best interest." I think you see where I'm going with this.

There is a quote famously attributed to Henry Ford that goes, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." When you pay us to do your website (or your social media, chat, etc.) you're also paying for us to advocate for you and to give you advice to help your business succeed and grow, right? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you want us to help you. To that end, sometimes we have to say "No, I don't think you really want to do that," and then proceed to explain why.

Some people just want a web company that'll do whatever they say without question or do it all by themselves without having any real ongoing relationship between the two – that's not us. We view the relationship that we have with our customers as a partnership which I'd define as a joint effort between two or more parties to the mutual advancement of each. To that end, it's in our best interest for you to be the best you can be and to let you know when you're pointing the gun at your foot (and you thought we were just nice people :-D).
Do you recall when I referenced, "Why don't I come up for HVAC Repair?" This is a prime example of the point I'm trying to make. Sometimes, it can be difficult to see things from a point of view that isn't our own. You see, unless you're looking to be found specifically for commercial or industrial HVAC service, that search term doesn't do you any good. The average residential client may have heard of HVAC but that's not what they'll search for because they're more familiar terms like "furnace", "ac", "heater", etc. Your customer doesn't use our industry lingo like "HVAC" – not even "A/C". You can see from this example why it's important to step outside of your own shoes and try to see things from the perspective of your customer. And, as hard as it may be, to admit that you're not them.

We've worked with third-party marketing companies that have advised our clients to set up their websites like you would see in physical marketing (newspaper, postcards, billboards, etc.). The problem here is that the Internet has its own unique dynamics and the same recipe for success that may yield results in one medium doesn't automatically mean it's the best choice in another. People don't surf the web like they look at billboards or read newspapers. David Beckham can't just strap on ice skates and score goals like Wayne Gretzky – it doesn't work that way.

We aren't here to offend anybody or hurt their feelings, but we would be remiss if we didn't share with you the expertise we've gathered from serving over 800 HVAC & Plumbing contractors in the last 16 years. If you think something is not the way it should be, please call us (or email if you'd prefer) and let us know. The best customer is an educated one (and you're already going a step in the right direction just by reading this!) And, I can say that our most satisfied customers are the ones who engage with us on an ongoing basis. I'd think that they're happier because they ask questions, let us know when things change on their end and just simply have conversations with us. If you move into a new house and your employer mails you your check, wouldn't you want to let them know your new address …or do you expect that they have psychic powers?

So, if and when we see you aiming your marketing/seo efforts at your foot (or worse), we'll politely tap you on the shoulder and offer you a different set of glasses to help you see what you're really aiming at before you pull the trigger. And, in case you were wondering, no – I haven't burned the house down, been to the hospital in the last year or had any homeowner's insurance claims. *knock on wood*
 

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