Grow and Change to Keep Relationships Strong
Creating Passionate Users pithily portrays how companies treat people before they are customers and afterwards. The pictures are more entertaining, but the gist of the article is this:
Before you become a customer, the company will do nearly anything to court you. After, you are treated like a commodity. This maxim is demonstrated in the difference between how prospects are treated by sales reps and how customers are treated by technical support.
The graphics are accurate as metaphors of chronologically linear relationships, but the goal should not be, as the author states, to stay the same. It is not only permissible, but preferable to grow and change in ways that pleasantly surprise the customer.
If a company stands pat and comforts itself with the belief that just because it has always been successful, that it will perpetually remain successful on the strength of the brand it built in the past, it will give way for a competitor to come in and offer something of greater value. Far from being a virtue, remaining static will eventually bore the customer.
Customers don't demand their product manuals be printed using the same expensive techniques as typical promotional materials. In fact, some might consider that a waste. However, they do demand that enough forethought put into them that they are easy to read and comprehend.
Accomplishing this feat only requires companies don't treat people as commodities, but instead engage in a perpetual conversation that allows and encourages continuous feedback and improvement.
None of this changes what I think was the author's central point, so this post is not meant to be a contradiction, but a complement. - Cam Beck