The Perfect Customer Experience

Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

The Perfect Customer Experience - Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

Kayser Hits the Bullseye

My colleague Steve Kayser, editor of Expert Access, set the record straight for newbies in the PR world in a cover story for Media Bullseye. His conclusion, writing simple news is really complex. Do it wrong and the experience wilts fast.

Steve says a big part of the reason for the complexity of PR these days: "It’s more from the frenetic pace of change in the PR industry. Blogs, Vlogs, Podcasts, Social Media, SEO, SEO PR, Tags, and on and on and on. The technology changes alone can be daunting or intimidating."

I say AMEN to that. All of us in marketing communications are feeling this pace of change. We have to master the intricacies of our own company’s products and these change every day to stay ahead of the competition. We have to master the skill of communicating … heck, that’s always been a challenge because writing is simply hard work. We have to master all the customer touchpoints and these are exploding, literally exploding in our faces. And we have to master new marketing automation tools that make it easier to do our work and distribute our communications through all these new touchpoints. And we have to master analytics so we can measure whether what we are doing works and merits the money spent on it. It is enough to keep your head spinning.

But one of the toughest of all these masteries is the one Steve discussed on Media Bullseye: Simplifying what we write. I encourage you to spin over there and read what Steve has to share. He has four simple rules (well, actually he stole them from Hemingway). To that, I would add one simple thought … I would have written a shorter blog post, but I didn’t have time. Well, to be honest, I kind of ripped that one off from Samuel Clemens (the real guy behind Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer) … or Samuel Johnson or T. S. Eliot … at one time or another they have all been given credit for the memorable line: I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one. Writing short and simple — as Hemingway, Twain, Johnson and Eliot would all agree is like sweating blood.

Steve Kayser is currently the director of PR for Cincom Systems, a global software and services company. In addition to his PR duties Steve publishes Cincom’s award-winning Expert Access E-zine which has grown to 135,000 subscribers globally. Steve is also an award-winning business writer. Steve can be reached at skayser@cincom.com.

Corporate Gobbledygook Kills the Customer Experience Before it Even Begins

David Meerman Scott, a friend of mine and a top-notch communications consultant and author of three books, has really put marketers and marketing writers on the spot. He did it in an article he wrote for Cincom’s Expert Access newsletter. Let me give you a taste of Scott’s challenge, which by the way, is backed by considerable research he did in preparing the article.

David writes:

Oh jeez, not another flexible, scalable, groundbreaking, industry-standard, cutting-edge product from a market-leading, well-positioned company! Ugh. I think I’m gonna puke! Just like with a teenager’s use of annoying catch phrases, I notice the same words cropping up again and again in websites and news releases so much so that the gobbledygook grates against my nerves and many other people’s, too. Well, duh. Like, companies just totally don’t communicate very well, you know?

Then he cites his research into corporate gobbledygook. The words that came out of his research might surprise you. Hopefully you have not been using any of them. Once you read David’s article, you will place a lot more value on plain English that is centered around solving customer problems rather than your "next generation" product … Oh, I did not mean to let that word slip into my text. Shame on you, Dale!

Now, here’s the thing for me. When we write in robust, mission-critical, world-class, flexible gibberish we immediately shut down the customer experience. Customers have a "bull-shit" detector built into them. Don’t you have this detector working when you are in a buying cycle? I sure do.

Words are important. They should be used carefully. They tell customers whether you are trying to fake them out. They send out the signal that it’s time to get off this website cause they are so busy trying to impress me with themselves that they have clearly indicated they have no knowledge on how to help me solve my problem.

Corporate gobbledygook is not just bad writing. It is a bad experience.

Now if you really want to do yourself a favor, go read David’s article and then subscribe to Expert Access so you can get this kind of thoughtful advice every two weeks from Cincom’s talented PR dude, Steve Kayser.