How many times have you heard a radio ad that sounded something like this?
Phil’s Toys is the leader in selling hard-to-find toys. We have thousands of toys in stock. We won’t be undersold! Our customer service is unbeatable and we always offer the best deals. Phil’s Toys has the best toys ever! If you haven’t been to Phil’s Toys, you need to check it out! Located on Main Street right by the clock tower. Go to Phil’s Toys dot com and check out our every day deals. (517) 555-1111. That’s (517) 555-1111 or Phil’s Toys dot com for the best selection, best prices and best services on all your toy needs. (517)-555-1111. Call Phil’s Toys today!!
Pretty much all of them, right?
Multiple unsubstantiated claims. Zero emotions. No representation of your Core Values.
Most people will ignore that ad. The few that don’t ignore it will remember one of three points—that you have tons of products, cheap discount prices, and excellent customer service.
But what happens when your customers walk in to find you have a fraction of the products of your big chain competitors, prices that are fair but on the high side, and customer service that is decent but nothing to write home about?
Sure, you have good products. You’re selling a higher grade product than the chains. You’re selling lesser-known but better solutions than your customers are used to seeing. You have fewer choices because you’ve curated down to only the best options. But that isn’t what your ad said.
Sure you have good prices. Thanks to MAP, no one has prices consistently lower than yours (except for the rogue website or two that drives Amazon down temporarily until you complain to your vendor.) No one has prices any higher either. The prices are fair, if not inspiring. But that’s not what your ad said.
Sure you have great service. At least you think you do because customers tell you they love you and you get great reviews on Facebook. That’s the problem with customer service, though. There is no set definition in all customers’ minds what great service looks like. Just because you aren’t bumbling, gum-chewing, idiots like your competitors doesn’t mean you’re meeting your customer’s expectations. but that’s not what your ad said.
If you make an unsubstantiated claim in your advertising, most people won’t believe it (if they heard it at all.) Those few that do believe it better not be disappointed when they show up in your store. Otherwise they will become your greatest critics which is worse than them not showing up at all.
Whether you change your ads or change the experience, the ad and experience have to match to be effective.
Here is one way you could talk about your customer service that is interesting and more substantive …
The box wasn’t unusually heavy. Awkward? Yes. But not too cumbersome. Getting it into the trunk was fun. The top first, a little twist here, and finally a big push. The customer looked at me and said, “I probably should have brought the van.” I laughed, “Next time.” A couple of thank you’s and she left with a smile. I had a happy customer, and a little fresh air. Ahh, we love carrying the big stuff out to your car. Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile. But next time bring the van.
That is a true story from a time I was carrying a box out to a customer’s cars. It illustrates one of our services, but more importantly paints the picture of the level of service we offer.
Here’s another true story …
I served them ice cream. 8:30 in the morning and I served my staff ice cream. Some looked at me like I was crazy. Others dug right in. Yeah, I’m a little unconventional that way. Kinda like how we staff the store. I have more staff on the floor than stores double our size. Some think I’m crazy. Others love it. There’s always someone available to help you. It takes a little more ice cream, but it’s worth every scoop. Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.
This one tells you one important point—we have “more staff on the floor than stores double our size.”
Stories are far more illustrative and effective at getting your point across in a way people will notice and remember. When you show customers what you do, you are substantiating your claim and making it more believable. When you tell a true story you also make it more memorable.
Show people what you have done to help them see what they can expect when they visit. Not only will your ads be more interesting, they will match the experience your customers have in the store perfectly.
PS Here’s one more substantiated claim …
On a slow day we gift wrap about fifty packages. On a busy day it’s closer to five hundred quickly and neatly wrapped gifts. Why do we do it? Because your time and money are valuable and this is how we help. After fifty-six years and over five hundred miles of giftwrap, we’re pretty darn good at it. Sure, there are a few hundred of our thirty thousand toys we just can’t wrap. For everything else, let us do the work. We like to wrap. Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.
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I get what you’re saying. I don’t monetize my website on purpose. First, I don’t believe that strongly in that type of marketing. I find in my studies that online marketing does not have the ROI it purports to have. Second, I don’t blog to make money. I blog to help small businesses find ways to compete. My traffic isn’t wasted. They get what they came here for, without the distractions. But thank you for noticing and sharing.