E-commerce, is a very delicate matter on the Italian panorama.
Even if it slowly taking off, leading more and more potential customers to accept and use this commercial tool, there remains a basic “fear” connected to the traditional minded ideology of sales strategy.
Italian buying attitude is made of words and sensations. It is a flirt: a love and hate game played between the sales person and the customer. A “love-story” which has to be build since the very first steps: Showing the products, allowing the customer to start dreaming about the product, transmitting him the first feeling of “possession”.
Establishing a database, using CRM tools, which get updated with every step the customer is taking on the net and which allow the sales person to be updated on the very latest standards. Allowing the customer to feel important. In the following paper, we will try to identify the attitudes and the moves which allow us to strengthen the contact to the customers, trying not to upset the ethnic behaviour and reluctance, typical feature of Italian buyers.
The decision to buy is strictly connected to our dreams. If we are going to buy a Rolex or a Mercedes, we want to signalise our neighbours and fried, as well as our enemies, if we want to call them so, that we are entering a new position. That we are reaching a higher status. Which emotions, which desires, which dreams are connected to this purchase. If the customer wants to reach an higher position, a better status, the customer will be particularly exigent to the new products. It is up to us to decide if our products can supply the needs and fulfil the desires of the customer.
One has to be able to rely on the products. It should not be worth for example, that during one flight we had and excellent lunch and got the latest magazines if the flight arrived late. We have paid in order to get on time. But doesn’t the service makes it sound a little bit more positive?
It is very important to take care about customers. For growing companies it becomes more and more important to get an high service quality and to get a close relationship with the customers. To achieve success customer relationships have to go far beyond the sale of products and services. It has to become a respect of the customer, an engagement which becomes a duty towards the desire of the customer. The customer has to be, especially in this kind of business, the king, because: no customer- no company.
Internet is still even, even if it is going increasing in importance, as an interface which goes between the customer and the company., Considering the democracy and freedom which is on the net, the customer achieve information through the net, but is not willing in getting more involved, in releasing personal notes.
How is the Italian customer?
The Italian customer is a talking lover an interpersonal person, who has the need to be guided, hugged and gradually lead towards his goal.
Italians love culture, love elegance, love success. Much more than in every other European country, show business is a determining part of social life.
Journalism is show business, talk shows are show business… show business is success, is importance. The 15 minutes of celebrity, defined by Warhol, seem to be a determinate figure of Italian behaviour. I show you who I am, how much class do I have and what I achieved. Every mean I can use to achieve it is ok, is legal. Italians need to be admired, to be get at the spotlights. Italians claim with what they have, they pretend to have. Internet does not allow this… in Internet everyone is like anyone… no difference… no traces….is it really so?
But to get the customer, you have to get to know the culture. How can we reach this?
Listening to the customer in details
Listen to what other people is telling about the desires of the customers
Effect, if possible, the modifications related to the customer needs
Take up the commitment to stay in touch with the customer on a long-term, ensuring that the offers remains still actual and relevant
Know the customer, the long years as well as the curious one
Elaborate a marketing concept which interests different target groups
Bring the customer to become a part of the family
How can this be reached?
One has to be literally “possessed” by the customer. We have to know what the customer thinks, we have to be ready to give them what they desire and when they do desire it.
Successful salespersons tell that customer love to buy in a friendly atmosphere. Think about it. If you are willing to buy something and a sales person, someone you do not know, tries to sell you something keeping on talking, not caring to your needs, how would you react. How would you react, instead, if, at the end of a successful sale with a person you think of as your friend, you go away felling that you have found exactly what you did need at the price you intended to pay for it? This is the customer who will come back. No need for expensive advertising campaign…but the urgent need to a customer relationship management. If the customer feels that he is important for the business he will come back. Otherwise he will disappear forever. Customers are like children: You have to care of them and to keep the promises made towards them. It is easy to get new customers, but it is very difficult to keep good relationships with the older .
If one manages to stay “near” to the customer the success is guaranteed. An example? Procter and Gamble uses their database for the marketing of PAMPERS. Thanks to the databank there are sent personal Happy Birthday cards to the children and the parents get letters who remind them to use the appropriate pampers for their babies. In Italy an interesting proposal for companies is made by the TIM: an SMS service, used on Internet, which can send the same message as SMS to 1.000 people.
E-commerce is not in the nearly future of sales strategy… Italian customers seem to rellay to be ready for it… to many are their fears…
Italians do pay a lot of attention to language gestures and behaviours. It is a game of
A game which ends and lives of an evocative language which captures the attention of the people we are talking to and which manages to get directly to the unconscious leading to the process of identifying. When we were children we identified with our favourite actress.. Also an adult can identify with a political leader, the favourite writer. The more we get nearer to our ideal the more energy we are investing in to it.
Language is a natural feature of our being. One person, even the shyest one, has the need to communicate something. To express something. Germans are paying extreme attention to body language, but do not use them.
Italians do live with their body: in every single occasion. Bind the hands of an Italian and he will not be able to communicate in an Italian way.
Body language has been studies by many psychologist and sociologist. Mark Asher in this relation on the body language, advises to take extremely care about body gestures, positions of the feet etc, in order to be capable to accept and better understand what the person in front of us in trying to communicate us-
Look at one prospective customer during the boat show: how does it look the boat, what does it do pay attention to… is he willing to buy or is it just a dream he will never be capable to afford?
Customers remain loyal to service and products providers who act more interested in maximizing the value of the relationship than minimizing the transaction costs. Great relationships are giving relationships. They harbour an abundance mentality, seeking ways to give without perpetual preoccupation with return.
In today’s world cultures are built and sustained through the actions of leaders. While we are gradually shedding the concept of leadership that focuses on follower ship what leaders do counts towards what gets attention.
Leaders of customer love are dramatic listeners. Poor communication is not only the most frequent predictor of divorce in marriage, but it holds true for organizational success as well. Leaders in customer’s love culture listen dramatically (so there is no doubt they are listening, demonstrate lavish understanding and respond in way that customers in valued and makes differences. A customer culture can only happen within a climate of trust. Leaders who five trust start with self esteem healthy enough to take emotional risks with associates and customers. They replace control with support and substitute acceptance for guilt.
Customers like dealing with organization that help them learn; they feel confident dealing with an organization that is itself constantly learning and improving. Customers like delaying with employees who demonstrate commitment, they love dealing with employees who demonstrate passion. Passion is a tag for that infectious energy that reflects a zeal for the best, a deep dedication to one’s role and an obvious show of pride. Customers do not only derive confidence from such interpersonal connections, they fuel their own sense of well being. Leaders must be passion bearers, modelling the excitement they want employees to transmit customers.