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the fickle customer
additional marketingsmack
by jack perez
7.15.09
general

I have always viewed my son as my customer and sometimes, employee. I manage his growth, meet his demands, ensure the ROI of his young life (hell be responsible for it later).

Last week, on a school night that ended late, he requested, pleadedimplored that we have spaghetti and meatballs. Mind you, this request is truly three standard deviations from the usual dinner suspects. I tried the local pizza take-out route with no luck, so I was left winging it.

Let me just say, I had NEVER made meatballs before.

Its 6:30 and I found myself buying ground meat. I think we all get the picture. There is still the get the kid ready for bed process that needs to be carefully timed against that looming 8 p.m. bedtime deadline.

About an hour later, hes showered, in pjs and meatballs on the plate complete with red sauce and a pile of spaghetti. Phew Ive met expectations, delivered on time and on budget. My client will be so pleased.

One look, one small bite and this tiny tyrant of a customer informs me that he FORGOThe doesnt really LIKE meatballs.

* * * * *

Weve all had them customers that make us jump through hoops of fire while juggling sharp blades only to inform us that eh, thats not what I was looking for. Or, worse yet, they keep changing their minds.pushing further and further the point of completion, scope-creeping us into would you like fries with that? wages.

We call this business you dont want. And while we still end up with business we dont want, weve gotten better at avoiding or ameliorating it.

Here are some tips to running your client relationships the way you both will feel satisfied and successful:

1. Set, document and agree to clear objectives.

2. Develop and agree to metrics.

3. Get signoffs at milestones.

4. Communicate status, progress, and potential issues in a timely manner.

5. Have the post-mortem check-up find out want went well and what needs improvement.

And lastly, remember that your relationship is win/win.

As a customer-driven organization, Summit strives for 100% referenceable customers. But while we do what it takes to get it done for our customers, they have to measure up too.

Good marketing isnt a commodity. Our customer referenceability metric assumes our customer will want to continue to work with usthat good work should perpetuate our relationship.

As for my meatball son, he has a captive vendor in me. I have a different set of tips for dealing with him.

Get yourself a little Marketingsmack at www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com

Or, visit us at: www.summitstrategypartners.com



ABOUT JACK PEREZ

Jack is a business owner, martial artist, mother of a rock star son and an intensity junkie. Jack's company, Summit Strategy Partners aligns marketing strategies to meet coroporate objectives. While this may not sound sexy - it is. What's sexier than success?

more about jack perez

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