Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page
Make a claim which is true only because of a small disclaimer. Then, repeated it to the point that people take it on face value. Its one of the oldest marketing ploys in the book and it’s what AT&T is doing with their “More Bars in More Places” campaign. You’ve seen them. TV ads that present a humorous situation, often based in the US, where someone isn’t receiving an important call because they don’t have AT&T. The disclaimer at the bottom clarifies that “More Bars in More Places than any other Network” is based on Global coverage. So yes, technically AT&T has more bars in more places, but does the target domestic audience really care that I can get AT&T Wireless coverage outside of the US. I don’t think so. Without the disclaimer, their domestic coverage does not live up to the claim. From Ad Age:
Consumers ‘equate bars with satisfaction and quality. It might work if people believe it.’ “Consumer Reports doesn’t. In its 2006 telecommunications survey, which was conducted last September and tallied the surveys of 42,000 readers, AT&T, formerly Cingular, had average or worse scores for dropped calls in the 20 cities it surveyed. As for ‘more bars’ or, as the Consumer Reports survey put it, no service,’ Cingular also was rated as average or worse in each city with the exception of Dallas, where it was rated better than average.
This campaign replaced the “Fewest Dropped Calls” campaign which ended last year. AT&T was unable to support that claim, even with a disclaimer. It seems AT&T has a history of using deceptive marketing tactics to make their product sound better than it really is.
As a customer of less than a year, I am constantly frustrated by seeing “No Service” on my phone in places that should (and according to AT&T’s coverage map, do) have coverage. Perhaps they should have another disclaimer that says “as long as you are not inside a building, like your house”! It’s bad enough that their service does not live up to expectations. What irks me the most is the frequent running of those TV spots which are clearly meant to put lipstick on a pig. Every time I see one of those ads, I feel compelled to requote the tagline, “No Bars in More Places than any other Network”.
There is a small, award-winning burger franchise call Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Their menu consists of basically four things: burgers, fries, hot dogs and soft drinks. No breakfast, no salads, no chicken and no wait staff. Their products don’t have names like “Whopper” or “Big Mac”. They’re call “hamburger” and “bacon cheeseburger”. Everything is cooked to order so it’s fresh and hot and the team behind the counter operate like a well-oiled machine with a clear focus on delivering a great product. They know that you come in hungry so while you are waiting for your meal, they have cases of roasted peanuts to crack open and munch on.
I went to Five Guys tonight to pick up dinner for the family. While I was chowing down on peanuts by the cash register, one of the employees was sweeping the area of spent shells. As she approached me, I started to move away to give her room, but she stopped me and said, ” You stay right there. You’re the customer”. So I did for a minute, but then moved over to the pickup counter. That’s when I saw this sign:
As customers, we interact with lots of organizations every day. Some of those experiences are bad and most are unremarkable, but occasionally you have a really great experience. I suspect that the organizations that really deliver have at their foundation, something like this baked into their cultural DNA.
Organizations can make all kinds of operational adjustments in the quest to deliver a better experience, but without a culture that gets this simple idea, they will not succeed.
What do you think? Think about some of your best customer experiences. Do those organizations get it?