The Twitter account @middleclassprob is having a moment. The account retweets Twitter users overreacting to what we now call #FirstWorldProblems. Problems such as when Waitrose runs out of lemongrass. Or your artisanal coffee shop makes your latte wrong.
It's funny and it gives us all some muchneeded perspective. After all, Twitter moaning is indulgent when there are things like Ebola in the world. Yet, if you're reading this, I hope you'll forgive me because I'm going to indulge in some moaning.
I assume that most people reading this work in an agency or business that trades in solving First World problems. Problems such as 'How can I get a closer shave?' and 'Do I need a new phone?' So, not life threatening by any means, yet important to your job.
Then, why oh why are businesses treating their customers like they're not important? This past Christmas season I was spending more and going out more than usual. But I noticed how hard it was to give some companies my money.
For example, it took two weeks, two emails, and four unanswered phone calls, just to buy a gift voucher for a brewery tour. Or the restaurant where they could only give us a table for 30 minutes. Of course an hour later we'd been neither moved on, told we could stay, or allowed to order anything else.
As much as I should feel grateful that I can afford to eat in a restaurant, shouldn't the restaurant feel grateful for my custom too? My beef is with the supposed higher-end premium market. The businesses aimed at us 'moaning' middle classes.
We know that we don't need things like a gift subscription to an independent magazine service. But, when said magazine repeatedly fails to appear, it's time to get it on a courier and get it there in time for Christmas. Not email to suggest we wait it out – presumably to save a few pounds on their side. If I've paid for a premium service I don't expect low-cost problem-solving.
Of course, you don't have to care about my first world problems.
But as marketers, you must care about your customers' problems. You must have received the reports by now that it's cheaper to keep repeat customers than it is to acquire new ones. Happy customers buy from you again and again. They recommend you to others. Yet, how much time and money are marketers investing in simply enchanting and delighting their customers?
If you're setting business targets this year can I suggest you add a few customer service resolutions? Namely these two…
First, give a sh*t. If you don't care about your customers, it shows. In recent years, there's been a shift to businesses outlining their Purpose. A purpose statement, by nature, mentions the people the organisation serves. Think Charles Schwab 'A relentless ally for the individual investor' or Disney 'To use our imaginations to bring happiness to millions'.
Having a Purpose also extends to how you treat your staff. Treat them badly and they'll pass that on to your customers. Worried you need pay staff more to perform better? In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Dan Pink found that money isn't the most effective employee motivator. For people to enjoy their work they need Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
Are your staff empowered to give customers a great experience? Has their job become boring? Do they feel like what they do matters? Even if it's sweeping the floors? The story goes that when President Kennedy asked a janitor what his job was during a NASA space center visit in 1962, the janitor said "I'm helping put a man on the moon".
And finally, you need to ask yourself – do you eat your own dog food? That is, do you know what it's like to use your company's own products or services? Try using your company's eCommerce site. Phone up your customer service centre. What about spending one day a month working alongside your frontline staff?
Marketers always say they struggle to measure RoI. In today's highly competitive global marketplace, marketers should be hooked on churn, customer loyalty, customer referral, satisfaction, and customer acquisition rates. These numbers form the entire justification for your marketing budget. And your job.