Managing Evidence: How to Tilt the Scales in Your Favor

Posted on 01. Dec, 2012 by in Customer Research, Managing Experiences, Marketing Strategy

In legal circles “tampering with evidence” is strictly taboo…it’s grounds for serious penalties.  But in the world of managing customers’ experiences, managing evidence is often not only desirable, it may be a tool necessary for survival!

How Perceptive Are Customers?

Most customers fail to recognize the quality built into a product or the efforts extended by a service-provider.  They’re generally unable to fully appreciate the differences between one company’s product and the products of competitors.  The fact is, customers rarely possess the observational qualities nor the expertise by which to objectively compare product offerings.  And, they’re seldom astute enough to appreciate the added value contributed by the perks and niceties that accompany the products and services they buy.  That’s why it’s critical for marketers to call customers’ attention to these values.  Otherwise credit isn’t given and increased loyalty (the primary goal for offering the superior services/products in the first place) may never be realized.

For some time I’ve called the practice of identifying and touting the benefits and values delivered to customers, the “management of evidence”.  For companies doing well for their customers, it’s appropriate to see that the customers understand and appreciate what’s being delivered to them.  Consider an example.  Norton, the computer security firm, (that might be protecting the computer on which you’re reading this) provides excellent protective software for computers.  But if their software is doing its job, an owner will likely never be bothered; it’s definitely a ‘low profile’ service.  Norton has apparently recognized its need to reinforce its value to customers by managing evidence. It accomplishes this with a monthly top-line report of the number of computer files checked in its latest scan; how many problems it detected; and what it has done to safeguard a computer.  And, each time the service updates its virus-detecting database it informs owners with a pop-up.  Norton is doing a great job of managing evidence to remind owners it’s more than ‘paying for itself’.

Tooting Our Own Horns

Most executives seem uncomfortable with the concept of managing evidence.  Western cultures teach the values of modesty.  Further, managers often either assume customers will be insulted by having good performance pointed out to them, or that “all customers should understand the added benefits offered by their products”.  They’re just plain wrong!

Astute managers need to learn how much (or how little) of the value they’re delivering is actually being perceived by their customers and credited to them.


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