Thursday, February 25, 2010

back to basics

A fella I know who has started his own online business was telling me how exciting it was to get that first sale from that first customer.

He was also excited to tell me how his automated email response system sent out a pre-generated email thanking customer x for their purchase.

And would then send them a follow up mail in 30 days time with further product information.

I thought this was a seriously missed opportunity.
In 99% of cases, if you only have one customer surely this is a big chance to find out whether you can get permission to establish a bit of a relationship with them.
Who knows, they might even help you make a better product.

Even if you only have one customer, the customer doesn't know he's your only one.

Yes, I get that in some cases an impersonal automated response can make you appear big when small but it's very rare for that to be more benefitial.

Thinking about this led me back to the seven rules to foster collaboration with customers, as laid down by Peppers and Rogers in 'One to One Future', quoted by Guy Kawasaki in 'Rules for Revolutionaries' and paraphrased here by me.

1. WAR IS OVER
Captive audiences, target customers, attacking markets etc.
We are NOT at war with our buyers, please.
And while we are at it, they are multi layered, multi faceted human beings not mindless 'consumers'.

2. GET IT FIXED
The product needs to be of a high enough quality (or at least have the potential) if your customers are going want to get involved with you.

3. FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALS
In a one-to-one situation the largest segment you are going to deal with is one person. This time it's personal.

4. TRANSACTION ACTION
You may have millions of transactions to think about but each customer only remembers their own.

5. KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON
Changes to a product or service should be made to make it better or easier for THE CUSTOMER to use, not the other way round.

6. GOOD MOANING
If customers are complaining it means they still give a shit.
Listen and act.

7. COLLABORATE
Create ways for customers to collaborate with you.
Customers will give a greater share of their wallet towards products or services they feel some ownership of.

The chap in the story now gets it, thankfully.

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