BrainTrust Query: Listening to Your Customers in an Always-on, Always-Connected World
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.
"You are receiving this message because you sent me an email on either a Saturday or Sunday. Between Monday – Friday, we deliver good value to clients and generally outperform anyone we compete with. We also place high priority on our faith and our family and treasure eight hours of sleep on at least two nights per week. We value your relationship and will respond to your message bright and chipper on Monday morning."
That’s the out-of-office message that I have been considering placing on my inbox during the weekend. I imagine that its impact would be as divisive as Tim Tebow currently is in the NFL. Some would quietly close their laptop and feel liberated to spend more time with their family over the weekend. Others would perceive my message as self-righteous or think I had gone wacky.
There’s a bigger thought to be shared here. In an always-on, always-connected world that increasingly treats instant gratification as table stakes, it is becoming truly challenging to engage people with messages that require more than a glancing read. USA Today conditioned the populous to seek news in snippets and now video is in high demand as many don’t even want to read, they want to listen to a message while they sip coffee, check email, and update their to-do lists in Evernote.
If there was ever a time to replace activity and noise with transparency and trust, it is now.
I’m all for meeting deadlines, over-delivering and breaking new ground. That’s not in question here. What is becoming a nasty little habit for many business people is buying into the notion that we have to be everywhere, communicate in every channel and never slow the cadence enough to hear what’s around us.
The noise we just might be missing is the voice of our clients and our customers. Marketers need to listen more, temper the cadence of communications and make a greater impact with fewer impressions. I don’t want another solicitation letter from Southwest Airlines offering me their co-branded credit card. I have already put one per month in the shredder for the past 12 months. I do want to receive just one survey asking me about my favorite destinations, my hobbies and my opinion about what could improve their cabin service. That would make me feel more like they care about me and, depending on what they did with my survey response, would influence my next choice of airline.
You probably won’t see that out-of-office message from me any time soon. My smartphone represents too great a temptation to respond to emails in the moment and my natural desire to serve those who trust me makes clamming up until Monday just a quaint thought.
Discussion Questions: Is periodically turning off beneficial for companies as well as people? How do you personally manage the “always-on, always-connected” temptation?