#34 Fairy Tale reactions, customers just want to be remembered


Welcome to the 34th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. Reactions to the ‘Modern Day Fairy Tale’.
  2. Customers want to be remembered 
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites
  5. Looking forward

Reactions to the ‘Modern Day Fairy Tale’

Thank you for the many reactions I received on my ‘fairy tale‘ about strategy development. Several people told me they appreciated the Beatles references, though only one person correctly guessed where it was all going before the final blog post. One email was particularly entertaining. Here is what Vijay Nagasubramanian told me:

“That was fantastic ‘paperback writing‘. When I started readying your more than elaborate blog ‘yesterday‘, I got a feeling I was on some ‘long and winding road‘. Nice sketch by Peter FitzGerald. Everyone portrayed in the sketch seems to be saying ‘I am the walrus‘.

To start the customer experience day celebrations, I landed at my customer’s office this morning. The HPE theme for this year’s celebration is Customer First, and true to that, my customer and I decided to ‘come together‘. It was nice to pick his brains on his take on customer experience and the things I heard from him and you are valid ‘eight days a week‘. With the kind of start we had celebrating CX day, ‘I feel fine‘! Happy Customer Experience day to everyone ‘across the universe‘.”

Customers just want to be remembered

I regularly say that I think the most important thing I have learned about customer experience over the years is simply that customers want to be remembered. I had two experiences in the last week that reminded me of that point.

I had lunch with one of my daughters in Lausanne. It was an unusual burger place. I had never been, but she has been there several times. My burger was great. She ordered a vegan burger. We both then ordered coffee. As often happens in Switzerland, our coffees came with a little chocolate. Hers was a dark chocolate, and mine was a milk chocolate. She quickly said “Hmm, I wonder whether they brought me the (vegan) dark chocolate because I chose a burger that happened to be vegan.” I said “Wow, that would be great customer insight.” We were quickly disappointed by the arrival of normal milk for the coffee, rather than her being offered the choice of soy milk (which they had). So close.

At my own end, I had the experience of Amazon not remembering its customers. Any of you who have Kindle hardware or software may have noticed that there is a ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon’s website for Kindle books. You can look at the first ten or so pages of a book. Amazon changed the software they use for the ‘Look Inside’ feature some months ago, but did not tell authors they had done so. The new software does not respect the CSS style sheet functionality used by the .mobi and .epub formats they accept for Kindle books. The books still work perfectly, but the Look Inside loses almost all of its formatting, probably for about half of all books. This had been happening for three or more months before I noticed. I had to log a case, and they fixed the previews instantly. It should be obvious that they should have written to their tens of thousands of authors to advise them of the change and what to do. They still have not done so. Disappointing.


Our latest blog posts

Here are the latest posts. Older posts are still available on the blog page.

image Use direct marketing techniques to improve survey response rates

Like most people, I receive lots of survey requests by email. Unlike most people, I don’t just delete them all. I want to learn. What I usually learn is that many people sending surveys don’t know the basics about how to get decent response rates.

image Can you cut your way to greatness? Yes, providing you only mean great for shareholders

As a retired HP person, I have been reflecting on ‘cutting your way to greatness’. There are not too many examples of success. Let’s look at Yahoo, then go on to understand the situation more generally.

image You don’t need a customer experience strategy – You already know what to do (A modern fairy tale for CX day)

Don’t bother wasting time developing a customer experience strategy. You already know what to do! Well, most of us think we do. Including me. We all have lots of ideas…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Post-truth alternative facts article: Three reasons big airlines’ service is awful

The normally quite intelligent Mark LaScola wrote this disappointingly unscientific piece for the Observer. I highlight it because it demonstrates how persuasive emotional content can be. It starts “Frequent flyers know airline service is a shell of its former glory.” Mark is based in the USA. The first sentence is the closest he comes to supplying any data.

In fact, the opposite of what he says is true for US airlines. I am not making this up. The American Customer Satisfaction Index has never been higher for airlines as a whole. The three largest US airlines all have the best scores they have had in the last 20 years. The data is here. Unfortunately, the Observer website provides no way of commenting on articles, and the contact form on Mark’s own website does not currently work. He may actually believe what he is saying. I am disappointed he is spreading misinformation to others, based on anecdotes and what he has read online. This a great example of what Daniel Kahneman calls System 1 (intuitive / emotional) thinking versus System 2 (rational) thinking. You can find the article here.

Uproxx: These Customer Service Fails Will Horrify You

OK, it’s schadenfreude time. These examples of bad customer service are so awful they are almost funny. Enjoy them (sort of) here.


Looking forward

My experiments with Amazon Ads are continuing, and October looks like being our record sales month for all three books. It is too soon to know whether that is just a coincidence. As I said two weeks ago, the temptation to stop experimenting is powerful, and I must resist it… In the meantime, we could really use more Amazon reviews. So… no matter what you thought of our books, please share your views with others.

Please share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up for it here. I have put links to past newsletters on the subscription page. Finally, please feel free to change or cancel your subscription using the link below.

You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at mfg@customerstrategy.net.

To change your subscription, click here.