Friday, May 27, 2011

@garyvee and Vindaloo

If you're from Chicago or have any family/friends who live here, you know that our Spring has been damp and cold with spots of intermittent teasing hours of warmth.  So, I'm sure you can appreciate that occasionally we feel lazy and have a hankering for stick to your ribs food to keep us warm...  And sometimes that means we order Indian food for delivery!

Aside from the requisite samosa, Amir has a love for particularly spicy chicken vindaloo.  He finds it hard to resist its dulcet tones when it calls his name.  He heeds the call each and every time.  And, while there are many great places in town to order vindaloo, there's one place that seems to get his vote.

What's the problem?  

Well, to order from them requires no small effort.  You can't go to their website, you have to go to another site that specializes in deliveries.  Due to poor site design, it takes a while to get to the restaurant you actually want.  And then, it takes a few more minutes to locate the items you wish to order because the item numbers from the actual restaurant's menu on the restaurant's site are different from the numbers on the delivery service's site.

Calling in the order to the separate delivery service is no better -- if you give the restaurant's item number they ask you to go to the delivery site for their item number.  If you don't have the delivery service hard copy menu with you, you're directed to the site with the similar challenges of finding the restaurant and correct item numbers.  If you don't have access to either, well, you may have a problem on your hands.

Oh, and did I mention that delivery takes anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes?  

And yet we still order food (albeit indirectly) and still go there when we don't feel like staying in.  Sure, it'd be easy to go somewhere else because, after all, it's just vindaloo.

But it's not just vindaloo.  It's the favorite vindaloo.  I can't help but think that if it were easier, cheaper, faster, better, etc., to order it, then we'd be doing a lot more of it and we'd be shouting it from the rooftops.  Right now, it's too much of a chore to enjoy it (which I know to be a #firstworldproblem) to do anything more than eat it because it tastes good.

The wine guy is right.  What if vindaloo emotionally connected with us?

On twitter, a friend (Hi Chris!) shared this video of Gary Vaynerchuk.  Please have a look:

Truly, what would happen if ordering vindaloo were a bit easier?  What would happen if instead of us exerting effort to give someone business that it would be someone else exerting effort to make it easier for us?  What if they were to be more like @garyvee and give and give and give without expecting anything in return?  What if they were to thank me for my effort in special (not necessarily over the top ways)? It's simple: we'd order more vindaloo.  And tell our friends to try some, too.

The jig is up. 

Clearly, this is more than just vindaloo.  It's about value.  What is business' view on valuing customer relationships beyond requisite (social) CRM and other loyalty devices?  Frankly, those activities are "keeping the lights on" these days.  

Truly, how much does business value "halo effect" when it comes to how it chooses to relate to its customers either directly or, in vindaloo's case, through a separate entity? Does it take steps to create tangible as well as intangible connections with customers and prospects?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  If you think your colleagues/friends would have something to add here, please share this post with them.  And thank you.

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

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