There is a difference between a paying customer and a loyal customer.
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What Do I Believe In?

rather…What do you believe in?

That is a simple question but it is very hard to answer for most people.  Why is it so difficult?  Most people focus on ‘what’ and ‘how’.  These are the tangible facts and figures.  However, as Simon Sinek has proven, this doesn’t motivate behavior. This is a serious challenge, how do we motivate our customers?  It is simple, we start with ‘why’.  Facts are useless if you don’t believe in a purpose.  Language is meaningless without purpose.  That being said, I have some very specific beliefs:

  1. A paying customer should not be confused with a loyal customer.  The moment you assume someone bought your product or service and that makes them ‘loyal’ is a lie.  The moment you believe that lie is the moment you abuse the privilege of having business with them.  The moment you claim all your customers are loyal is the moment you start lowering your standards, accepting broken product and accepting shortcuts.  Loyalty is not a shortcut, it is an ongoing transformation of values between two entities and is grown over time.  You don’t shortcut growing a plant by taking it out of the sun or failing to give it water.  The moment you shortcut continual care is the moment your plant dies.  Loyalty is grown, not bought.
  2. Why Agile?  The answer is the question, ‘Why’.  This simple word, ‘why’, is the reason why we do things in short iterations.  This simple word is the belief that drives our feedback cycles.  This simple word is what makes our retrospectives and continuous improvement process a core value of wanting to be better tomorrow than today.  That simple word makes us appreciate that loyalty is driven by a value-based system.  That simple word forces us to let go of processes, ego, titles and anything human made that will stop us from providing value and thus build customer loyalty.

 

That being said, welcome to my beliefs.  I believe that the goal is not to do business with everyone that MIGHT need your product or service.  The goal is to do business with those that believe what you believe.  Loyal customers believe what you believe.  Loyal employees believe what you believe.  If you start with ‘why’, define your ‘how’ process and your ‘what’ results on that ‘why’, you will be a fertile ground for growing loyalty.

Loyalty is what drives your product and service to outlive your competitors.  Most product people focus on ‘concept to cash’.  In agile, this is when the product is in the customers’ hands.  In product management, this is the moment your product starts making money and thus you are past ‘breaking even’, hence the word ‘revenue’.  However, what determines how long you make money on your product is one thing, customer loyalty.  Eventually you have to ‘sunset’ or decommission your product, or you reinvent your product and start the cycle again.  Customer loyalty makes that gap longer.  The moment your competitor has a better product and for less money is the moment your customer is tested.  Loyalty keeps them in your fold.  One company that I use as a case study in my classes has customer loyalty factor into the 10-12 years range.  Most of us have trouble keeping customers for 6 months.

If you care about loyalty and values, then let’s talk.

If you don’t care about loyalty and want to do shortcuts, then simply stated…

…I only want to do business with those who believe what I believe.