Jay: Hey, everybody. Hope you are doing fantastic. Had a great weekend. Man, what a strange juxtaposition last week was for me, and maybe for you. Obviously, we had the United issue, which was then followed by the fact (you may have seen this) that somebody was on a United flight and was actually stung by a scorpion, which is a great week for their communications team and their passengers. But I had all these weird United things happening, and of course I did a video about United. Maybe you saw last week. But then I had kind of like what I can best describe as sort of being the exact opposite experience.
I was at a conference last week for my friends at Workfront. Workfront is a terrific software company. Makes productivity software for marketers and others. Collaboration, mark up, scheduling, accounting—a really great organization. So, I was speaking at their conference in Salt Lake City, just a few days ago, and their CMO, Joe Staples, said a really interesting thing. He said, “Hey, did you know that we name all the conference rooms in our company for our customers?”
I’m like, wow, I never heard of that. Like, you know a lot of tech companies, they name their conference rooms for technology heroes. “That is the Jobs conference room, it’s the Bill Gates conference room,” or they name their conference rooms for some kind of, like, nerd movie or whatever, but I have never heard of a company that names all of their conference rooms for their key customers. I’m like, wow that is a really, really powerful, powerful statement about their values at Workfront.
But then I started to realize that, wow, that’s super easy. Anybody can do that. I’m going to name the virtual conference room that we use at Convince and Convert after our customers as well, but you know, other companies have other ways of keeping their customers top-of-mind, making sure that their focus is on their customer as often as it can possibly be.
And it’s easy to lose sight of that, right? Especially in digital marketing, where we deal so much with spreadsheet and numbers and reports that sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that customers are actual real people, right? And they have their own challenges and their own issues, and it’s easy to lose sight of that fact when you’ve got your head in Excel, or something along those lines.
So, it’s not just “name your conference rooms for customers,” but there are other ways to do that as well. For example, one of our clients at Convince & Convert is Comcast. Comcast does something where, in every single meeting that they have, they leave an extra chair, an empty chair. And that chair represents the customer, and it’s always easy to remember that because you’ve got a whole room full of people, and there’s nobody in that other chair. How come? Because that is the customer’s chair. Just an easy sort of trigger, to keep the customer top-of-mind.
And probably my very favorite one, along the same lines, is another customer of ours. We didn’t come up with these ideas. I don’t want to take credit for it, but it’s a company that we work with, Pella Windows and Doors. Terrific organization. If you need yourself some windows or some doors, you could do a lot worse than Pella. They do some something—I actually talk about this a little bit in my book, Hug Your Haters—that I just absolutely love. So, every time they have a managers meeting, the first thing they do, the way they start their managers’ meeting . . . it’s not the pledge of allegiance or, “Let’s go over a new business,” or something like that. They read an unhappy email or unhappy telephone transcript from a real customer. In every managers’ meeting, they start the meeting not by celebrating their successes but reminding each other that they are not perfect. That there’s still unhappy customers out there, they still have room to go, that they’re not yet at 100 percent customer satisfaction. You’re talking about a powerful statement, about your values and what you stand for as an organization, boy, that’s it.
So, I encourage each and every one of you, and myself included, to come up with a way you can keep your customers top-of-mind. Maybe it’s one of these three easy ideas, right? Name your conference rooms after your customers, read an angry customer email at the beginning of each meeting, and/or leave an empty chair for your customers in each meeting as well, and you will be amazed at how much that improves your overall customer experience. And I would say that our friends at United probably could have benefited from something like that.
Also, speaking of events, this week I am going to Nashville, Tennessee to be the emcee and host of Marketing United, which is the signature annual event of my friends at Emma. Terrific company that absolutely loves their customers. They are an email marketing organization and the sponsor of the Jay Today show. So, be following along. There will be lots of chatter and photos and videos on the social media from myself. Scott Stratten will be there, Tom Webster will be there, Tamsen Webster, Ali Gardner, a whole bunch of folks, so be looking for more from me this week from Marketing United. Event runs Wednesday night, Thursday, and Friday.
Thanks as always to Emma for their support. So, in the comments below, if you get a chance, A: I want you to share this with somebody who you think can benefit from it, but let me know if there is other ideas that you have of how you can keep your customers top-of-mind in ways that aren’t going to take tons of time or tons of resources. I want us to work on this together. Thanks as always for watching Jay Today.