I’ll start with a disclaimer: this blog will be part working through my thoughts, part venting, and part offering you some internet marketing tips. Bear with the back story – I’ll pull it together. Here goes.
The Back Story
First, I need to give you some context. The other day I went to pay my internet bill, which I think I am paying waaaay too much for. As I dug a little deeper I realized I cannot translate the way said internet provider (we’ll call it Company XYZ) does its billing. Yes, we had a promo offer for awhile, and then the monthly bill amount was raised to the normal price. Fine, I knew I signed up for that. But I pay my bill on time every month (okay, except for last May) and still the billing amount is inconsistent. So, what do I do? Put my husband on it! He’s not afraid of talking to the people on the other end, of which, I am.
The Real-Life Scenario
So, the other day my husband calls up Company XYZ and talks to 3 – yes 3 – people in the customer service department before getting anywhere.
The first person couldn’t even tell him where to find the account number on our bill they were asking for, so my husband hung up.
The second person put my husband on hold and never returned, and they hung up.
The third and smartest person, after hearing out my husband’s issues with the bill, made the wisest choice ever and transferred him to the customer retention department. This is where my point is – I promise!
As my husband explained the problem, the phone rep kept interrupting him. My husband didn’t feel heard. Once my husband was finally able to explain the problem, which was three-fold –
- a) Why is our bill inconsistent?
- b) Why is our bill so high?
- c) Why are we paying for a phone line we don’t use?
– instead of addressing the problems the rep came back with “well we have this promo going…” My husband insisted he didn’t want another promo. He just wanted answers to his questions. He just wanted to be heard, understood, and cared about. At the heart of it – that’s what inbound marketing is all about. Answering people’s questions. Giving them what they want in the best way possible.
The Inbound Marketing Mentality
So my question is this: can inbound marketing actually be a mentality used in other areas of business besides internet marketing? I think so!
At its core, inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with your dream customers to attract prospects, convert them to customers, keep them coming back, and delight them in the process. HubSpot has created the Inbound Methodology for marketing your business online. It looks like this:
We use this methodology at Half a Bubble Out and you can learn more about it and how it’s an important part of your internet marketing strategy here. But what I want to focus on is the mentality behind it.
Inbound marketing is about being helpful and giving people what they are searching for. If people find that your business is helping them solve a problem or answer a question they have, they will be more likely to return, stay, or become a customer. I love that HubSpot uses the word “delight.” It’s such a warm, pleasant word, like sipping cold lemonade by the pool on a warm summer day. I don’t know about you, but I want to be delighted; especially when I’m dealing with a very un-delightful situation like having to talk to customer service at Company XYZ. (Well not me, but my husband - he reenacted the conversation for me, so it felt so real!) We didn’t feel delighted or helped at all.
If the (third) customer service rep we talked to had just listened to my husband’s questions, provided answers, and then given us helpful information to understand our bill, we would have been much happier – maybe even delighted. We at least wouldn’t be shopping around for another service so quickly, like we are now.
Inbound marketing is an effective method for marketing your business online, but I think it can also be a mentality used in other aspects of business too – like on the other end of the phone.