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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Client Delight - RSS a potential source ?

I've been thinking of the concept of client delight, and the old wise 80/20 rule that says businesses get 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients, that a lot of companies seem to be forgetting while prospecting for new business. 

I've learnt more about client delight from my local vegetable vendor, my local grocer and my local parlour than from any 'corporate' service-driven organisation. 

My vegetable vendor now has a cell phone and sources the freshest zucchini for me if i order it a day in advance and sends it to me early morning along with a bunch of fresh parsley that he feels i might have forgotten to order (he doesnt know that the parsley is for those baby potatoes he sent me two weeks earlier, and not the zucchini!).  My local grocer, who when runs out of the brand of detergent i want, sends his boy to the shop next door, purchases it from his competitor and sees that i have it with me in all of 5 minutes.  The receptionist at my local parlour who calls me on my birthday to wish me and offers me a special discount on their services, with a free head massage thrown in.  Or my local bank branch staff that allows me to withdraw money well after banking hours.

What strikes me about these people is they have mastered the art of client delight in small, simple, ways.  In ways that are personal, social and responsive beyond the 'brief'.  I am under no illusion that i am the chosen one - i know they do it for all their customers, still i feel special and it makes me so loyal to them - if on the odd day i need to, i'd rather do without, not scream my head off at their inefficiencies, and definitely not turn away from them.

Organisations often stress on client delight but i'm afraid many of them miss out on the little things, the touch-feel, in their attempt to 'institutionalise' a client delight program.  What such programs can do is deliver on expectations - clients today 'expect' far more from their service providers than the typical new year greeting card or the occasional entertainment.  So service organisations try and out-do each other vying to send the most innovative new year card - this year with a bottle of champagne attached for instance.  Does this get delight ? Gain loyalty ? Am not sure. 

Delight is something else to me - its that little extra - that reinforces in her mind that she made the right choice by selecting me or my company, not at the end of a project or the year, but a little reminder every day that makes for stickiness.  Something that conveys to her that she is special to us - and not just another client that will get the annual new year card or be on the mailing list of the company newsletter. 

A client 'delight' a day is what i tell my colleagues we should aim for. 

I'm working on a study currently with clients in the US - a lot of the work requires helping them gain a perspective on the culture and peoples of India across several sections of society.  Yesterday i was asked a question on the mobile phone industry in India - a simple one - still knowing the client well, their areas of interest and their needs (the 80/20 rule i follow helps here), i could quite confidently and in a very short period of time, send them some useful articles and links, beyond what they were asking for, still relevant to their project and business decisions.  

Because i have been following this industry in the blogworld and have a lot of feeds in my newsreader around it.  Makes me wonder whether it would be a good idea setting up an RSS feed relevant to their target audience and line of business.  With global and local perspectives.  Or for instance, for MTV, setting up a feed of some Indian youth blogs,  'influencer' and 'thoughtleader' blogs. 

And not just handing over the feeds to them - but sifting gems from the feeds, personalizing them, adding a third dimension to them in some cases, and dropping them into their inbox once in a while.  Not on a regular basis because that might 'force' me to 'force-fit' things just so i can meet my tuesday afternoon RSS update deadline, thereby losing the 'delight'. Rather, keeping up my sleeve and sending when appropriate.

What do you think ?

11:30:23 PM    comment []  trackback []

Thought for the Day

Do you set the standards you live by?

ìIf I get to pick what I want to do, then it's play... if someone else tells me that I have to do it, then it's work.î

-- Patricia Nourot

10:28:58 AM    comment []  trackback []

Media Habits - Working Women

This is interesting - a study that shows that media habits of working women are closer to those of their male counterparts than women at home. 

Some highlights :

- working women consume more internet, press and cinema than non-working women

- the time spent in a day on watching television again coincides for working men as well as working women. Working women spend less time watching television than non- working women do. This pattern of being 'like working men' is apparent across other parameters of media consumption too such as language of media consumption, genre preferences, etc, the study shows.

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9:43:17 AM    comment []  trackback []