Thursday, October 21, 2010

There's no I in Customer...

But there is a U!  Okay, so that was a bad riff on that original "There's no I in team" but the message is just the same.  We've all had instances when we feel like, as the customer, we're inconveniencing the company with whom we choose to do business.  We've all had similar horror stories that we've shared over blogs, drinks, meals, etc.

This past July, I shared with you this story courtesy of Chicago's hometown airline.  You'll remember that while I applauded the pilot's caution (and still do), I bemoaned the lack of even feigned regret by the customer service agents on the ground.  Don't even get me started on all of the misinformation, too!  I just felt like I wasn't appreciated and rather taken for granted.  It was almost as if they airline could operate without any customers at all which, if course, is ludicrous.

So why bring all of this up now?  There's a nice little blurb that I saw on Brandfreak that I'd like to share with you.  There's a new campaign by JetBlue (videos are on YouTube) that demonstrates how insane airline service looks if it were to take place on the ground.  Here are two really great examples:

I think my favorite is the one with the $25 bag fee and is more effective than Southwest's "Bags fly free" language in their advertising.  These videos, to me, are masterfully done because they show to what extent, as customers, we've had control wrested from us by the major airlines.

But I can't blame airlines only because we ALL do it - small and big business both.  I've had the great fortune of networking with many eager entrepreneurs and executives lately and I've heard lots of passion and excitement about their business ideas.  And I use those words deliberately...  The passion is for their ideas.  But I haven't heard the passion for the customer they hope to attract and retain.

I've not heard who these customers are.  I've not heard why these customers have caught there eye versus other types of customers.  I've not heard that these product/service ideas are borne of "pain" their ideal customers are experiencing due to the lack of this product/service.  I've not heard how incrementally better customer revenues/life/efficiency/happiness would be if this product/service existed.  And the list goes on...

To be clear: these behaviors are not intentionally selfish or self absorbed.  They are more a function of being too in love with the idea of their brand/product/service/whatever to be objective about it which can be a fatal error.  There's a phrase many of us have heard which (I think) goes: give to get but don't give to get.  It seems to apply here.

What's your take?

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like we have attended some of the same presentations, or maybe there's just a lot of that going around. Some of the local organizations who foster startups have been moving to a "How can we help?" model for presentations. While I appreciate that sentiment, perhaps the best help would be to provide some tough criticism and coaching in private, so that these entrepreneurs would be better prepared before they get to the public forum.