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November 13, 2006

My customer, my enemy

On Saturday, Seth Godin wrote about an experience he had while visiting an electronics store. Apparently, as Godin was in line, he witnessed a woman with a box, a receipt, and a complaint about a missing part. A sales associate and manager did everything they could to make sure the customer wasn't satisfied - from arguing with her to charging her for the piece that was (allegedly) missing.

Some of us will stand back in awe of the sheer foolishness of permanently alienating a customer for an item priced at $10 - whether or not it was actually missing to begin with, but how many of us are guilty of the same thing on a larger scale?

I was trying to get to a technology article the other day when an ad for a well-known technology company scrolled across the text I wanted to read. If there was a close box, I couldn't find it. And for at least five seconds, I had to wait to read the article I came there for.

Would I have looked at the ad at all had it not forced its way into my consciousness? Probably not in the form it ultimately morphed into, but I can certainly see how a company like that could utilize other methods to get my attention.

Will I remember the company's name on the ad? Not that I didn't know it anyway, but you bet.

Will the ad entice me to shop there? Nope. I don't even remember what they were advertising. All I can remember is those five seconds that will forever live in infamy. Was that five seconds worth my eternal enmity?

If you want to endear people to your brand, you need to do more than capture their attention - you have to capture their hearts. And the only way you are going to do that is if you show that you care about what is important to them. Keeping them from being productive is not the way to accomplish that. Before embarking on any online campaign, ask yourself if you would want to be interrupted in the manner you are interrupting your potential customers. Ask yourself if you would jump at the chance to fill in gobs of personally identifiable information to receive a newsletter.

The competition is only one click away. Intrude at your own risk. - Cam Beck


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Great post, Cam. You know the old saying, Any publicity is good publicty...

Somehow, we've taken that theory and applied it to attention, as if, just because we see you, we're more likely to buy your product. Do people really believe that anyone's more likely to buy something that just pissed them off! Craziness...

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