Thursday, March 15, 2007

Keep the spark alive

Companies are good at dating: they treat you to candle-lit dinners, charm you, focus on you and can't wait to hear from you. Once you close the deal, companies become the spouse that gains 70 pounds, the husband that just wants to be left alone and the couple that stopped paying attention.

Marketers know that it's much harder to acquire a customer compared to keeping your current customers. Why then are they treating their customers so much worse than their prospects?
(I wonder about that in relationships as well: Why do people get excited about new friends and do everything to accomodate them, but don't bother to connect with current friends on an ongoing basis?).

Why is a product brochure so beautiful and the manual filled with errors and printed on the cheapest paper on earth?
Why are brand sites so easy to navigate, and support sites feel like you just encountered the end of the Internet?
That's how bad relationships and marriages feel and look like.

If we want to create loving and emotional relationships with our customers, we need to develop a plan to keep the spark alive. Here are my Top 10 ideas:

1. Try to understand the personal and relational goals of your relationship. Modify them as necessary.

2. Identify and develop mutual interests, like sports, hobbies, entertainment, etc.

3. Be willing to try something new.

4. Participate in a weekly or bi-weekly small group - read what your customers have to say about you.

5. Build up your customer in front of other business divisions.

6. Attend seminars on relationships every few months. Learn how others are developing better relationships with their customers.

7. Turn off the television, radio and computer once a month and try to communicate with your customers in innovative ways.

8. Leave little notes/gestures to express your emotion towards your customer.

9. Once a year write your customer a letter to say why you're so happy he chose you.

10. Pick a special day once a year to express how important your customer is to you. Pick an ordinary day (not determinded by anniversaries or events) and make it a surprise.

I'll leave the last word to Oscar Wilde: "Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."

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