Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Investing In Customers, Listening, and Loyalty.

Umair (no need for a second name, you know, a bit like Madonna), brings our attention back to the topic of brands, and brand building. The key question, IMHO, is "how can we meaningfully invest in our customers"? This is a very deep question. This question, in turn, is framed by the Purpose question, what are we about as a company? Umair gives the example of Google, and talks about how it is driven to "make the world a better place". I think that this goes fundamentally to the issue of developing products and services that address real substantive societal issues, not corporate ones. A key take away from the posting for me was that Nike was moving from advertising spend, to investing in customers services like work out advice, sports events, local sports competitions, communities etc. In another post, Bruce Tempkin of Customer Experience Matters points out some metrics relating to customer loyalty and great customer experience. It's worth a look over just to re-iterate that Great experience has a much higher impact on loyalty that Good experience. Perhaps Great Experience will morph into Authentic experience, i.e. a sense that you are interacting with real people, that can be like your best neighbour, you know, the one that offers to cut your lawn when you are on holiday, so your house doesn't look neglected. At VoiceSage we had our own mantra's that were based on "being fair" and "being different". We wanted to only charge for real, measurable benefits, that you could get quickly, and with no upfront investment. We didn't want integration costs, we didn't want hidden charges. We wanted simplicity, ease of use, flexibility. I think we've demonstrated this capability to our client base now. But I wonder what lessons we could draw from Umair's comments about Apple and Google? Its worth thinking about.

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