Tag Archives: Waiting For Your Cat to Bark

What Experience Do You Provide Your Customers?

You’ve got two challenges.  Keep you current customers very, very happy.  And, find your next customer.

But customers are not like they used to be.  They get to choose – everything!  And most of all, they get to choose whether or not to be your customer.

I was re-reading my handout from the intriguing book, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? – Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg and Lisa Davis, and read this:

The experience economy…  signifies the final blow to the notion of mass marketing.  Today, the experience of the product or service – the experience of the exchange itself – defines delight and ultimately spells success or failure for the business and the brand.  Experience is not objective.  And it is your customer’s perception of the experience that you must strive to improve…  The increased intimacy of that experience is what allows customers to ascribe a deeper connection and more value to products and services.  The structuring of that intimacy is the goal of Persuasion Architecture.

At the heart of the experience economy is this.  Was the customer’s experience memorable (in a good way)?  Here is a quote from The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage by B. Joseph Pine and James Gilmore:

Companies stage an experience when they engage customers in a memorable way.

Customers remember two kinds of experiences.  The really good ones.  And the bad ones.  You don’t want the bad, and you don’t want the “neutral.”  You want your customers to have good, memorable experiences.  Those are the only kind that will keep them coming back, and spreading the word, in this era.  Why?  Because they simply have too many choices…
(By the way, they will also spread the word re. the bad experiences – whether you want them to or not).)

So, ask this – over and over again:

are my customers experiencing good positive experiences when they come to my event or buy my product or service?

If not, you’ve got some better experiences to create.

(By the way, the one guarantee of a bad experience is an experience filled with “hassles.”  Aim for hassle free experiences!)

Does your company/organization communicate clearly?

Does your company/organization communicate clearly?  (lessons to learn from successes and failures in signage)

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
Cool Hand Luke, 1967

There are a lot of lessons in this article from Slate.com: The Secret Language of Signs:  They’re the most useful thing you pay no attention to. Start paying attention by Julia Turner.  Here’s one:

from Spain -- clear, not confusing

Consider Leslie Gallery Dilworth, a Philadelphia architect who took a road trip with her husband through Spain in the 1980s. Throughout the journey, they’d marveled at the simplicity of the European road signs, which were easy to use even though neither of them spoke Spanish. Upon their return to Philly, they got lost on the way from the airport to their house, when a bad set of signs directed them to a local dump. Dilworth was so struck by her own city’s inhospitality that she spent much of the next decade working with the city and local stakeholders revamping Philadelphia’s sign systems. Today, she’s the CEO of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, the premier American professional group for sign designers.

This article contains stories about bad signs.  The most tragic was the bus crash three years ago with the Bluffton University baseball bus from Bluffton, Ohio, which crashed in Atlanta, killing seven people.  The accident was caused significantly by bad signage.

But it is also an article about how valuable helpful signage can be.

But, even more so, it is actually a reminder of this lesson:  communication really is key to success.  And a failure to communicate leads to…  failure!

The clear and simple lessons are these:

#1 – Businesses, organizations, companies, governments need to be crystal clear in their communications with their citizens/customers.  Ambiguity, a lack of clarity, can confuse people, harm people, and in the worst cases, even kill people.

#2 – People need to pay attention to all attempts at communication. If it is clear, follow the directions.  If it is unclear, scream, and cajole, and work and think like an activist, in order to compel clearer communication.

If you ever write an article, send a memo or e-mail, design a web page, and the people reading can’t figure it out (or, it’s a hassle to figure it out – remember, people hate hassles!), then it is your fault.

I remember my experience of reading the book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?  Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, and thought that one point they made was this:  every time a customer has to figure out “what do I have to do next?” on their own, when a company fails to give clear direction, is a bad communication moment for a company.

Clear communication.  Easy to figure out.  No confusion.  That is the goal.