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Why Educated Consumers Are Better Customers

S. Housley -- Educated consumers have realistic expectations and understanding of what can and cannot be accomplished.

Not too long ago, a colleague asked me why we invest so heavily in consumer education. We have made a conscious decision to spend marketing dollars on consumer education for a very simple reason. Educated consumers are simply better customers.

Let's take a closer look at why educated consumers are better customers.

Less Technical Support.

1. Educated consumers require less technical support. The reduced technical support results in lower overhead costs. Often educated consumers can further reduce the support burden by assisting or educating other customers or potential customers in forums, newsgroups, user groups, or elsewhere in an industry community.

Often users with a strong technical background or understanding will assist in the forums and provide users technical support. The result: an educated consumer is a happy and helpful customer.

Easier Sales.

2. Generally speaking, educated consumers have a better understanding of the technology, how it can be used, and how it will benefit them. A customer's understanding that an application will result in saved time can easily justify the software's expense. Cost becomes less of an issue when long-term value is understood.

Reasonable Expectations.

3. I hate to say it, but back in 1996 when we started out, consumer ignorance resulted in unrealistic expectations. Consumers purchased expecting that software would do their dishes and vacuum. Regardless of how well the software did what it was designed to do, if a customer expects it to do something else, they will not be a satisfied customer.

Educated consumers have realistic expectations and understanding of what can and cannot be accomplished.

Kinds of Consumer Education

1. Articles.

Educational articles not only propagate the success and understanding of a technology, but well-written articles will often establish the writer as an industry expert.

Example: http://www.feedforall.com/newsletter.htm (on the bottom)

2.White Papers.

Real world examples of how other users are using software to resolve problems or save time are often great illustrations of technology in action.

Example: http://www.notepage.net/whitepapers.htm

3. PPT Demonstrations.

Power point presentations not only assist with user education, but also can be used by User Groups to further evangelize and educate potential users.

All in all, educated consumers result in a happier user with realistic expectations. Ignorance often results in dissatisfaction and unrealistic expectations while education leads to long term happy and helpful customers.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll, software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage, a wireless text messaging software company.

© 2005 Sharon Housley

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