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January 24, 2006


I agree completely (you ARE worth it... and much more), with two large reservations.

First, as a customer, I hate to be "acquired."

Second, as a customer, I hate to be called a "consumer." Which is, as you'll recall our good friend Jerry starting saying so long ago, "a gullet who lives only to gulp products and crap cash."

The traditional folks need to know that consumers are now also producers (look at digital photography, blogging, video, music), and customers with power that goes far beyond choice.

There will always be the "massive passives;" but customers that matter most are both independent and active. Involved. Participatory.

And that's what makes them valuable.

Good morning. I like what you're saying, but how about some examples of products or services that you particularly value, where you do not sense that you're being had, and whose producers you believe respect you as a user?

Yes Yes and yes - Customers ARE Producers - this is my favorite new mantra to the traditionalist these days and boy does it scare them. But as much as I agree with Jerry about "Consumers" being a bad word (and we have discussed this) - we still do consume. I do not produce cars, sneakers, and a lot of other CPG items (consumer packaged goods) - yet. I want a better word than user or buyer. The difference today is that we buy AND we produce.

Thanks for pointing out my slide back into marketing buzz speak. I should have put quotes around "acquired". Lately I feel like I want to put "quotes" around a lot of words - I must be getting lazy with my adjectives.

I wonder if we should call this respect? Does a company need to respect our wishes or should it respect its own needs? Or should companies and we as customers understand that we need to respect each other?

I know few companies that achieve respecting their customers. For the simple reason that companies are made up from customers, who do not respect themselves.

Aha - we need to respect each other. As a company, I need to respect my customer's time and needs and money. As a customer, I need to realize that it is a company, which = business. And I cannot expect to get every whim addressed. I find that most customer's get this - we put up with a lot. Company's often forget that my time is valuable. i.e. waiting on hold for 45 minutes (yes, extreme example).

The example you give is exactly what I mean, when saying a company is made up from customers. Most employees who make you wait 45 minutes or do not know with whom they might connect you to be helped, hate when other companies treat them the same way. But do the learn from these experiences, it seems not. Even managers who think their time is more valuable than that of their customers and employes get riled at having to wait in line at the supermarket or bank counter. But do they learn from these experiences. When you look at their policies you would not think so.

So what is this schizofrenic behavior from employees, who hate the behavior when they are the butt of the joke, but love to pass it around when they have a position of power?

I do not understand it. I understand you might not have the time to help someone, because your are interacting with a customer with a big time consuming problem, but why not inform the waiting customer and ask for a moment to call back? I understand your boss wants you to help as much customers in as little as time as possible, but why not tell the customer before hand, so he knows what to expect. I understand your boss wants you to sell as musch as possible, but why can't that be done with a smile. Or are we so angry with our employers that they make demands, that we take it out on our customers? Even when we do not like to be on the receiving end of this behavior. Or have we become so jaded and complacent that we don't care anymore how we are treated and how we treat others?

I also wonder if companies who treat their customers with respect, might have motivated employees who love the work they do, might have employees that feel the company is theirs and have a better bottom line. So it might start with companies respecting themselves and through that respect their employees so that they in their turn can respect their customers.

And to complete what I said before about respecting your customer, maybe that will get you customers that respect you.

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