Utilities must avoid lost marketing opportunities that create ‘doubtcomes’ with customers

Phoenix, AZ, Oct. 11, 2007 — The last thing a utility needs, according to consultant David Saxby, is an employee with direct customer contact who creates doubts about the company’s products and services.

“This can and does happen,” says Saxby, president of Measure-X, a company that specializes in helping utilities improve their customer service and sales. “Whether it’s a customer service representative or field personnel chatting with customers on service calls, unprepared and unprofessional utility employees can create what I call ‘doubtcomes.’ The end result is a marketing opportunity gone wrong and a customer who is hesitant to purchase additional services.”

Saxby suggests utilities determine if their employees are guilty of any of the following creators of “doubtcomes.”

Poor preparation. “Unprepared professionals don’t come across as professional,” Saxby says. “Doubt is raised as to their ability to get the job done and provide quality service.”

Uncertainty. “If you doubt yourself and the value you provide, how can you expect your customers to feel confident in what you are offering or providing?” Saxby asks.

Hyperbole. Employees who overstep the bounds of truth when discussing a product or service raise doubts in customers’ minds, Saxby says. “This is one reason marketing has such a bad name,” Saxby notes. “Oftentimes, it just doesn’t sound believable. Speak the truth.”

Vague benefits. “If you’re not specific about what your customers will get in the way of benefits, they may doubt that you can actually deliver,” Saxby says. “What you’re telling them must be specific and clearly beneficial.”

Suspect success stories. Examples of how products and services have been beneficial for other customers better not be suspect, Saxby warns. “If your stories aren’t completely on the up-and-up and you aren’t able to fill in important details, the doubt increases the more you spin your yarn,” Saxby notes.

Incorrect information. “When it’s obvious you don’t know your stuff — you give wrong answers or incomplete information — doubt takes over in the customer’s mind,” Saxby says.

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