Valentine’s Day should really be experiential rather than material and unfortunately it has become a little too much of a product event. There simply not enough imagination on thinking what company can offer from an experiential perspective. Scott and I walked into Le Mason DeChocolat (picture above) in NYC and bought some chcoclates. They are really a master in creating expeiences. It has been a while since I visited theie main store in Paris. I remembered when I opened the door, I was greeted by the wonderful smell of real chocolate. There's a very mall area to have a coffee or tea, and I love the spacious counters filled with all types of fine chocolate. And valentines day makes it even more special particualy with the valentines' gift packs *they usual packaging color is brown). if only large companies can learn from them. Truthfully, I wonder who invented Valentine'.
I was offered three vastly distinct versions of the origin. One comes from England and has something to do with birds mating. The other two trace the beginning all the way to the Roman Empire. The more popular one of the two, is about a priest in the third century who secretly held weddings for lovebirds when the tyrant of the day, in an attempt to conscript all men of a certain age, banned all weddings. When he learned of the priest's act of defiance, he did not hesitate to arrest and execute the holy man. That was on February 14 and the priest's name was Valentine. The day was later canonized by lovers to commemorate the great sympathizer of love. The association with romance dates from the middle ages, where most of the legends surrounding St. Valentine were written. Not sure if this is a real story or not.
Retail marketers really put a lot of thoughts into this day and I wonder how much other non-retail marketers can learn from them. If only they can treat their customers with a little love. The life of a consumer in general is painful. From deciding what package you need for your cell phone (it toften akes a GMAT of 850, last time I checked I only got 830,in order to find the optimal package not to mention I never understand how the billing works) or calling your credit card company (American Express is one good example, you’re not talking to a person, you are talking to someone reading a script politely and simply cannot help you. I suggest they go for full automation with only voice recording or simply booking your vacation (try to book a cruise yourself without an agent, good luck).
There are still many marketers who believe that their job is to 1/ confuse customers by making even simple things as complicated as possible such as return a piece of merchandize 2/ to come up with as many strategies as possible not to allow customer to have any real choices 3/hoping that customer will prefer some short term gain and instead get some long term pain. 3/ trying all kinds of way to prevent customer from having any means to complain so to make them helpless. If you can do all of the above, you are really hopeless. But don’t complain about customer churn or lack of loyalty. You deserve it. For those industries that rely on heavy customer interactions, poor service was the predominant reason that nearly 50% change providers. Smart companies strike the right balance between using technology to help reduce costs and streamlining the customer experience with well-considered processes that contribute to more personalized services. More technology is not answer. Don’t they get it?
Customers simply want their customer experience to be like a good short cut - they expect the first customer service representative they talk with to have the knowledge, tools and empowered to help them. A better way to do this is companies should smartly categorize inquiries by mapping their volume and type against the revenues they produced. On one occasion it was discovered that five kinds of queries accounted for 50 % of its total call volume but generated 75% of its additional profits. Company then considered which types of calls were easiest to automate, and it introduced automated systems to route low-value inquiries by category whenever possible. I think company should consider live agents before automation instead of the other way around. Understanding the value of each kind of interaction helps a company boost its revenues by meeting its customers’ most exacting needs and can easily improve the overall customer experiences.
Happy Valentines Day!