Tag Archives: crm

Did anyone notice it was my birthday?

So today I turn 43. Ouch. Well actually less ouch and more wahay! That’s how I feel today. With a wonderful family, some great friends and heading a business which focuses on helping brands make customer experience work for them, I’m doing what I enjoy, so I am looking forward to the next year.

I’ve had a stream of well wishing LinkedIn, voicemail, text and emails so far. Italy, London, Latvia, Edinburgh, Australia – as far and wide as I could imagine messages have reached me. And with the school run still a priority even on this momentous occasion, a table full of cards and presents waiting at home when I return this evening for a special birthday dinner. It’s a day I look forward to and moments of it I will remember forever.

In fact, most media has been active in congratulating me. I clicked on Google and was welcomed with this simple but effective personalised message:

google birthday


How wonderfully simple. An opportunity to tailor content to me (and the other 23rd Februarians) and they took it.

So I then thought, how many other brands know my age and are always trying to find an angle to create relevance and cut through? They are always trying to hit me with messages relating to stuff of theirs I’ve looked at but not bought. I wondered if they’d managed to connect their business model to my world and recognise it was my birthday in their CRM programmes?

Of course not. CRM doesn’t stand for ‘Christopher Really Matters’. So unless I’ve popped up on a ‘he should be buying this widget he browsed for 2 seconds over 10 days ago’ list, or similar, I’m not of value to them today. To prove my point here are two of the most prolific data rich e-marketers communications which hit my inbox yesterday, at about the same time my wife was wrapping presents and boys writing cards:

amazon birthday

expedia birthday





Missing the art of personalisation

In fact, Amazon are asking me to buy gift cards for someone else! Here was a great opportunity to personalise content to me in a light-hearted, but emotionally connecting way. They miss their moment. Or rather the CRM algorithm does.

However, when I’m browsing a site, the company can manage to collect every impression I make and serve that content back to me as an offer I’ve obviously missed. I’m not quite sure how this logic stacks up. That would be like assuming we never take a wrong turn when driving, or we never say anything we don’t mean, or we are never inquisitive.

But who is to blame for this shortfall? is it the CRM or brands fault, or is it the people who instruct the decisions on personalisation?

I attended an airline conference last year where one of the ‘industry expert’ facilitators barked out the virtues of passenger personalisation as being the future for airlines. Along with empathy, I could buy this point. But then his colleagues proceeded to share an array of ‘made up bundles’ of packages of airline benefits they have created, which cost the customer more but actually give them less. And with a wink of his eye finished with a, “Now that’s personalisation”. To which the audience applauded. Oh dear.

The true art of personalisation

If you want to get it right, leave the CRM system at the door, leave the marketer intent on tripping the customer up at home and start thinking about how to really connect with consumers when and how it really matters to them. Because, it really doesn’t matter if we all get the same thing. If it feels personal to me, then it is.

Thank you Google; you’ve gained a few advocacy points today. All the others who missed their chance, remember it’s my world and on the whole I choose (based on how they behave on days like today), which brands live in it.

dragonTo finish here’s a little personalisation that can go along way. It’s an example of how to deliver a standard message in a personal way. The customer has completed the ‘any other request’ box with a cheeky, ‘draw a dragon on the box’ comment. So that’s what the pizza firm did. No doubt increasing advocacy and sales from customer who will be more committed because of the personal attention.

Happy birthday to me.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant Lexden.

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Unordinary Thinking No.5 – Outsmarting technology. A Thai bellboy’s approach

You know that feeling when you lose an arm? Or do I actually mean lose your iphone, cannot access email or do not have your computer systems working for 20 minutes? Feelings of helplessness, panic and being a bit lost are not uncommon.

All our software, systems and mobile phones enable us to work more productively, generate improved solutions and treat customers better (presumably). But does the technology make us lazy in our thinking and blind to simpler, better solutions?

Consider the following. A friend who works in Hong Kong recently told me this story.

Last year he returned back on business to a hotel in Bangkok which he had previously visited on holiday three years earlier. Getting out of his taxi, he was warmly welcomed by a uniformed chap at the entrance to the lobby who offered to take his bag and engaged in the usual bit of hotel chit chat.

He approached the front desk to be greeted by one of the beautifully presented hotel receptionists. “Welcome back, sir-it’s so nice to have you staying with us again”. He was a bit surprised. He tried to get a quick look at her computer screen to see what kind of customer management system she was using. He cast his mind back to how he had booked the hotel (his secretary had arranged it over the internet) and what information he might have given which would have enabled her to welcome him as she had. He was genuinely puzzled since he could not recall providing anything which would have helped her.

So he asked. Evidently, she was at first a bit coy in that very Thai way, but my friend was insistent and she cracked. She pointed over to the man who had previously carried his bag and who was now greeting another guest. “Watch what he does when he comes over to us with this lady”. My friend did not notice anything in particular. Seeing his blank face, she explained: “The first question he asks a guest is ‘is this your first visit to us here?’ If it is, he carries the guest’s bag in his left hand, if they are returning it’s his right hand. I just look out.”

This is currently one of our favourite stories of unordinary thinking. Does anyone have something which beats it? We would love to hear about it.

Posted by Ajai Ranawat, Lexden.

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands. For more information on how we can help you contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or ajairanawat@lexdengroup.com, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123. And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.