Bottom Limits, Top Limits


Treating all customers the same and treating every customer well is putting a bottom limit on frustration – you can’t go too bad if you do it. Treating customers differently gives you the opportunity to make your best ones love you.

In college I only studied Intro to Marketing for one semester, and it was far from my main focus. What I noticed, though, is that all textbooks and materials tell you that the customer is always right, you should always listen to the customer. Well, not always. Not if this customer makes you spend double the effort on him just to not hate you. Instead, you can devote this time to invent something for the customers that love you. As Seth Godin says, they will talk about you and bring many more after them.

Where I come from, in elementary schools they treat all students the same. They put a bottom limit on quality. They ensure that every student is educated and literate. What they don’t ensure is that schools produce geniuses and achievers. For this to happen, you need to remove the top limit, you need to give students the freedom to explore, the resources and the attention.

In my daily job I sometimes come in contact with customers who always complain about something and want a solution ASAP. They threaten to abandon your product and go to the competition. I say let them go. You have two choices to spend your time – convince them they are wrong and your product is good, or work on the product and make it awesome. You could also work on a program to provide benefits to your VIP customers (the ones who love you). This second choice would be a much better investment than the first one.

This could probably be applied everywhere people are involved – HR, education, communications. Don’t introduce bottom limits. Remove the top limits instead.

UPDATE: Here’s a very good article by Seth Godin that I think relates to this post.

SearchPerks and – Microsoft Marketing


Recently I came across this TechCrunch article about the efforts from Microsoft to push their Live search engine and I was surprised by how bad they can be about their marketing. Now I don’t know if their purpose with Live is to conquer the world or just get a piece off Google’s search cake, but they obviously don’t do what’s right to attract people to it.

When I visit SearchPerks, this new service of theirs where you get coupons for using Live, I come across a page telling me to install Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher. Are we still in the twentieth century? A company like MS does not support different browsers? The only reason I can see for making such a bad move would be that they want to integrate Live with IE. Now, as far as I can remember, trying to force users to use IE by integrating it in Windows cost them a sum. Why they still think that forcing users use something (not giving them another option) is the way to go, I don’t know. I’ve defended Microsoft many times, although most of the people I know hate them. But still, sometimes they do things that are beyond me, beyond my level of comprehension and common sense.

Now, you can say I’m not a normal user, I’m a developer. So despite all the hardship and difficulties I actually open up Internet Explorer and go to SearchPerks. From what I can see, I have to actually download an application that counts the searches I make with Live, in order to collect tickets. I also have a limit of 25 per day. Well I don’t know about the rest of the people, the normal ones, but I refuse to switch a browser, sign up and download an app, then use a worse-than-regular search engine and collect tickets till April, so that I can get a t-shirt (yay) free. Come on, MS, is this today’s marketing?

Thanks for reading.