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Published on September 1st, 2006 | by Simon Wakeman


How we treat our customers

Over at Kathy Sierra’s Creating Passionate Users blog I spotted a very thought provoking post. As marketers we tend to focus our efforts on acquiring new customers, and don’t spend much time or effort on existing customers – yet this isn’t sensible if we really think about it.

Kathy suggests that if we put more effort into helping people get more out of the product they’ve purchased we can create more loyalty, which in the long term will translate into more cross-sales and personal recommendation.

Seth Godin endorses Kathy’s views, but Darren Barefoot has a different take on Kathy’s post.

This reminds me of a concept that I learnt back in my economics lessons at school – utility – basically how much value a user/customer gets from a product.

As marketers we need to maximise the utility customers think they’re getting from a product or service. That’s why marketers for intangible services like to ensure they give customers something tangible as well as the service itself. And that’s why making sure users can actually use a fair proportion of a product’s features is important.

Providing a decent manual isn’t an indication that the product is hard to use – although it should be secondary to ensuring a product is simple to use in the first place.

Ensuring maximum utility from a product means that customers will have their purchase decision re-affirmed – they will feel a warm glow because they will feel confirmation that they did the right thing in buying a product. And this will lead to more loyalty in the longer term and more recommendation to other prospective customers.

This article originally appeared on Simon Wakeman’s communications, marketing and public relations blog at

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I write on my blog about all kinds of things. Mostly it's focussed on communications, marketing and digital stuff - as that's what I spend my days doing and evenings thinking about. But sometimes I'll cover running, mountain biking, road biking or geeky gadgets too.

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  • About Simon

    Simon WakemanSimon is Agency Director at digital agency Deeson and writes for the agency blog on all things digital.

    He’s a CIPR and CIM qualified digital, communications and marketing professional with experience working across the full communications mix in the public and private sectors.

    Outside work he enjoys running, road cycling, mountain biking, caravanning and generally being outdoors. Simon is married with two children, has two energetic dogs and lives near Canterbury, Kent.

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