Day of the Customer

Last Saturday it was ‘Dag van de klant‘ again in Belgium, literally translated that means ‘Day of the customer’. This day is an initiative from Unizo (Organization for the Self-Employed and SMEs) and is a yearly recurring event and this year was the 20th edition. On this day, the small business thank their customers for their loyalty. Most of the time, that means you’ll get some chocolates, a rose, … when you buy stuff at the shop that day.

So what happened? On Saturday I went to the car-wash and received some car refresher (like a sample) when I paid. And on Monday I got some free chocolates thrown at me while visiting my bank to pick up my new Visa card. And that’s indeed the experience. Did I feel like being thanked for my loyalty Not really, I even had to ask why I got it in the first place. It was just that day where shops offer you a little gift, when you visit them… because it’s that day of the year again.

I think Unizo needs the rethink their concept as I get the feeling it’s a ‘little’ worn out. I can see how this idea made sense many years ago, but today it looks like many businesses are just part of this because that’s what everyone else does…. I remember how Lou Carbone said during his presentation at MIX07: “You cannot NOT have an experience”, and it’s clear that just organizing something called ‘Day of the Customer’ doesn’t make that customer experience a good one just like that.

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Essentials on engagement

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a very good post on engagement that was written by Mike Arauz. I think someone passed it on via Twitter but I don’t remember exactly. In this post Mike writes about the three essential elements of engagement: relevance, utility and delight.

How each customer’s choices are guided by myriad personal values and lifestyle circumstances…

How you actually want to make yourself useful by offering customers something they need…

Give your customers the pleasure of discovery…

Great post, read the details on Mike’s blog. It reminded me again of the ‘passion starts with two simple words‘ post Kevin wrote long time ago.

Users, consumers, …?

There we go again, I just noticed this on my Facebook homepage. A new group “Stop calling me a consumer…” was set up. Every now and then I see a post or a comment that relates to this topic. Don’t say consumers, but say users. Don’t say users, but customers, … say people, human etc.

Now I agree that you don’t want to want to say ‘hey mr. consumer’ into someone’s face, but apart from that this terminology really is alright you know. First of all, these words don’t all mean the same thing. This is a first important point to make as it shows that it makes no sense to say ‘not a consumer, but a user’. An example might be:

I’m a consumer in the computer electronics space and since I own both a PC and Mac, that makes me a customer of Apple and Toshiba (as well as Microsoft) for instance. I’m a user of Vista, GreatNews, …

Second, since they have other meanings these ‘tags’ are very helpful for marketers to define and segment their audience and hence do better at talking to this audience. So why wouldn’t we use this terminology, it’s helpful. I am a person, a human and depending on my relationship with a brand I’m also a customer … etc.

[Update:  while reading some more at the group on Facebook, I noticed a link to David Armano’s Logic+Emotion with a graph that explains exactly my point – I should have known :)]

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