Thursday, February 28, 2013

Customer Service and Gender

Companies need to treat women customers and prospects differently than they treat men. So say Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold, the authors of the 2001 book "EVEolution - Understanding Women - Eight Essential Truths that Work in Your Business and Your Life."

The premise of EVEolution is simple - Women decide eighty percent of all purchases made in the US every year. For decades, we've been advised that it is politically incorrect to treat women differently from the way we treat men. Popcorn and Marigold have the courage to say that we should all learn how to market to women.

Marketing is different from life, the authors remind us. In life, a woman is assertive, and does whatever it takes to get the job done for herself and her family. But as customers, women refuse to waste their time in inefficient procedures.

Women are much less likely to call you with service problems than men are -
"If women have to go out of their way to track you down - if you make them jump through hoops to get service...they'll take their billions of dollars elsewhere."

So, treat women customers badly, and you'll lose them. And, of course, it costs a lot more to get customers back than to keep them.

The authors quote a study -
"Ninety-six percent of female customers never complain. They just never go back."

Popcorn and Marigold mention Jiffy Lube as a company that markets well to women. Jiffy Lube gives the customer control over the automobile service process. In addition, the company provides comfort, it creates trust that the work is done properly, and the company treats its customers respectfully.

Marketers need to anticipate what women want, and deliver it before women ask for it. It's all about relationships.

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