CUSTOMER SERVICE DOESN’T HAVE TO INVOLVE CUSTOMERS
This is an incredibly important point that makes no sense and makes total sense at the same time. Let’s start with the obvious: Your customer today may become your ex-customer tomorrow; conversely, a non-customer (prospect, unaffiliated, out of market, etc.) today may become your customer tomorrow. For brands that span broader, even mass-market coverage—and for any who have ever dared to utter the foolish words “everyone’s our customer”—this is especially for you.
Companies that have any semblance of scale have to think big in terms of broadening their horizons and how they grow. Step 1 is a shift from acquisition to retention; and Step 2 is a lateral broadening of what and who is considered to be a customer.
Does someone have to have paid to count as a customer? Does sending free product to what I call the “new creative class”—aka content creators, bloggers or “influencers”, and the like—count? What about people who consume the brand but not necessarily the product? As mentioned in Chapter 6, both enthusiasts and influencers associated with the brand need to be serviced.
This is a lesson from which General Motors could have benefited, when on Monday, June 1, 2009, at around 8.30 A.M., they made a very poorly kept secret official: the company was filing for bankruptcy protection. Tens of thousands of employees, dealers, channel partners, and creditors now had their worst fears confirmed. Nervous customers in the possession ...