A Customer Christmas Experience
It is the week before Christmas and all through the store
Run thousands of shoppers seeking presents galore.
But in the B2B office, few carols are singing;
the email’s gone quiet; the phones have stopped ringing.
We have time to reflect; to review – with some cheer? –
When customers bought, or did not, or promised: “next year.”
Some of them stayed, for that, let’s be festive.
Others, they left us, they churned or were restive.
Let’s picture a scene. What would they have said
If sending letters to the man dressed in red?
So let us wonder – what’s on their Christmas list?
What would they like? What have we missed?
Some savings? Of course, but we think that we’ll find
That customers come to us with more on their mind.
Customers know that what’s often lost
Is value, if you focus only on cost.
Innovation, perhaps? Thinking out of the box
Could be the thing that blows off their socks.
Well, we’ll do what we can, but we might only regret
promising things we’ve not thought of yet.
Let’s read again their note in the chimney
And learn what tickles our customers’ whimsy.
What’s on their mind? What’s their concern?
What is it they want Santa to learn?
Perhaps it’s Big Data? That’s big this year.
But do customers care? In a pig’s ear.
What’s top of their list? What’s top of the stack?
What can we do to have them come back?
When you see it, it hits you, like God dropped a bus.
What matters is thinking of them, and not us.
Do what we can to make it about them.
Like: don’t sell a solution if you don’t know their problem.
Or using their language, (‘cos jargon sounds funny);
Or saying “resources”, (while they’re thinking money).
It’s the experience, you see: what they feel, what they sense
Is what matters; what makes the big difference.
So while we reflect on the things we might say
About 2013 and customers who strayed,
There are things we can do to be sharper and better
Regardless of channel – web, phone, email or letter.
First we need to begin – this isn’t new news –
By putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes.
Yes, we can tie ourselves up with journeys and maps
And maybe these might prevent customer mishap.
But if we want to do more (and we certainly do)
(Something pragmatic? Perhaps something new?)
Then I have two things that I would like to suggest.
Neither are radical, but don’t get distressed.
Both of these work and are shown to be
Helpful indeed towards customer victory.
The first one is simple, but quite hard to try:
It’s getting it right – but in the customer’s eye.
It means changing our work and even our brains
To get it right straightaway, again and again.
The second is tough, but it’s a critical need:
For all of our customers, what matters is speed.
So let’s resolve, in 2014
To do more for our customers, be they passive, or keen.
Let’s get things right in the ways that they like
And let’s do so quickly, so they don’t take a hike.
So, St Nick, from us here’s our letter:
Next year, for our customers, we want to do better.
Thank for reading throughout the year. Happy Christmas.
(Image credit: Nicklolas Muray, 1958, George Eastman House Collection, http://www.eastmanhouse.org/inc/collections/photography.php).