Kathy Sierra over at Creating Passionate Users just made a brilliant comparison of customer relationships to personal relationships. She points out that many customer relationships are like bad marriages. Everything starts off rosy, then it all goes wonky:
This is such a big bowl of wrong. I don’t understand this in personal relationships, and I don’t understand it in business-to-customer relationships. Shouldn’t you treat the people you’re in a relationship with better than you treat anyone else?
It is completely true of course, though not easy to do in personal relationships either (and isn’t “a big bowl of wrong” a great phrase?). But there are so many terrible examples of companies getting this wrong, shouldn’t some of them be listening?
As Joris points out in the trackbacks to Kathy’s post:
[There are a] lot of books and papers on CRM. All complicated theories on how to combine business strategies with analytical workflow applications, that are all focused on customer retention.
Today Kathy explained it to me in plain english and clear pictures. Just keep flirting with your existing customers, as much as you do with potential customers.
If you can’t do it yourself, go hire a service design firm - they’re the people who grew tired of being asked to make pretty stuff for your rubbish products and services and decided to do something about it.
(Image from Creating Passionate Users).