This month we’re reading about how to be more genuine in customer interactions, Google Maps’ crisis of trust, Facebook’s solution to stem the spread of dubious health claims, and what Airbnb’s entry into the “luxe” rental market teaches us about customer life cycles.
Marketing Profs/Daryl Person
Top-notch customer experience is a key brand differentiator. In light of this, Marketing Profs argues that separating your business from the pack will hinge on creating a genuine connection with current and potential patients. “Sharing personal, emotional experiences with your customers will secure their loyalty over the long term,” writer Daryl Person argues.
That means understanding your patients’ journey from having the notion to get a treatment to ultimately booking and undergoing one. It also entails aligning your marketing to potential patients with key touch points in their lives. And as a practice, Person says, you “have to act like—and be like—a human,” a feat that is likely much more tenable for an aesthetics practice than for a traditional brand.
Another victory for trust online—this one from Facebook, which has had to answer for some high-profile trust issues in the past few years.
Health Feedback, a fact-checking website, reported that of the 10 most-shared health stories on Facebook in 2018, seven contained false or misleading information. When the study zoomed out to the top 100 shared stories, the gap between trustworthy and non-trustworthy content closed, but misleading stories were still shared more often than accurate ones.
In June, Facebook altered its News Feed algorithm to give stories that feature “‘exaggerated or sensational’ health claims” lower priority—that means scientifically dubious health and wellness content should get much less visibility.
Wall Street Journal/Rob Copeland & Katherine Bindley
What happens when an online listing isn’t trustworthy? A recent report in the Wall Street Journal uncovered the risks. The Journal found 11 million fake listings on Google Maps, and that phony companies with fake names and false addresses could pose real danger to consumers who rely on the listings to find businesses and get from Point A to Point B.
The story opens ominously with an anecdote about a federal worker who conducted a routine search on Google Maps to find a local repair service to fix her garage door, but “ended the night wishing she hadn’t.” Using contact information on Google, she reached out to a company bearing the same name as one she used and liked before. But the man who pulled into her driveway in an unmarked van wasn’t associated with that trusted business, didn’t fix her problem properly, and tried to charge her twice what the legitimate company had. When she refused to pay, he began to harangue her, at home, for the money. This problem of fake listings, the Journal pointed out, is “profitable for nearly everyone involved, Google included. Consumers and legitimate businesses end up the losers.”
New York Times/Shivani Vora
Airbnb’s new luxury accommodations offering shows what’s possible when a business has a handle on their customer’s life cycles.
The company launched, according to the Times, essentially as a marketplace for glorified couch surfing for people with wanderlust who were short on cash. Eleven years on, the company recently launched Airbnb Luxe, which features 2,000 high-end homes in post card-ready locales. According to the company’s CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky, the company doesn’t see those who are in the market for luxury accommodations as an altogether different segment. Rather, they’re Airbnb’s original customers—just a decade older, and with more refined tastes and greater means.
He told the Times that Airbnb Luxe customers “are the same guests who rented sofas with the company when they were younger, though now they have well-paying jobs and more discerning tastes and seek upscale accommodations.” How might a similar life cycle strategy apply in the aesthetics market?