business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to Michael Sansolo's column yesterday about the importance of treating existing customers as well as new customers, MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

I couldn't agree more, and I'll give an example that really hits home in the times we are living in.

Like many, my cell phone bill through Verizon is over $250 a month, which includes service for 4 phones. Not terrible, right? My issue is that most of us are home right now, and using WiFi, and very little Data, not even close to our limit. As a long time customer, a discount of some sort would be nice, say 10 or 15 percent, much like GEICO car insurance has done. I have contacted Verizon to no avail, maybe they'll see this email.

MNB reader Craig Espelien wrote:

Michael is dead on - I detest this practice! Digital Marketing makes this so much easier and is a crucial link in the experience chain. Customer Activation is how it starts - as too many companies see a sale as a transaction rather than the beginning of a new relationship.

I always recommend a series of communications (emails typically) explaining how to maximize the experience with the product or service. Then, when does the product purchased “expire” or need to be refilled/replenished? This then creates a communication path to encourage (and reward) loyalty. This includes both inside information and user only programs/promotions.

Not every company follows this as they intellectually understand customer Journey Maps but do not really think about customers once the transaction has been made. I could share horror stores about Satellite Radio - I have to set a reminder every year to be the “please stay” deal that is about one-third the cost of the automatic billing cost you have to sign up for to get the deal. Usually only one or two threats to cancel get the new deal - but I hate the dance…

Regarding holiday sales and uncertainty going forward, one MNB reader wrote:

I think the answer lies in the fact that many people (myself included) started shopping on-line weeks ago.  My Christmas shopping was basically done well before Thanksgiving.  Why?  Knowing that shipping lanes are more crowded than ever, and not wanting to stress about whether my purchases would be delivered in a timely manner.  Also, we are all in a hoarding mindset; why risk items being out of stock closer to Christmas, when I can go on-line, search what I want at a good price, and get it now?

BTW, this is the first year that I have done all my shopping on-line; I doubt I will ever go back to going to the store to hunt and peck for what I need – no crowds, no fuss, and I can do it completely at my leisure.  Talk about Peace on Earth!

We had a piece yesterday about bow Nasdaq is considering a new rule requiring board diversity for companies listed on its exchange, prompting one MNB reader to write:

Our board consists of:

4 women

3 Asian people

3 Black people

2 LGBTQ people

Some of these attributes intersect and we also have diversity in age.

Our CEO is an LGBTQ woman in her 60’s.

We are in one of the most segregated cities in America as well. 

We did this without a government mandate, instead it’s something our organization has been focused on.

It is WAY past time for this to be the norm, not the exception, in the way businesses are run. 

I commented about this story yesterday:

I am a big fan of the idea that companies' boards out to be diverse, and I certainly think that this is a legitimate measurement for people to use when evaluating whether to invest in a business.  If the rationale is that a more diverse board creates more vigilant corporate governance by eliminating old boys clubs, then I think this is a fine idea.

This prompted one MNB reader to write:

Just curious, on your site there are three people submitting articles, you, Mr. Sansolo and your wife. By my count that's two old white guys and a white woman. Are you willing to get rid of Mr. Sansolo and replace him with a person of color? You should also add an LGBTQ person on staff, so I guess your wife has to go as well.

First of all, who are you calling old?  I think of myself as being in late middle age (though when I say this at home, it is greeted by guffaws from my kids and the inevitable pointing out that this means that I'd have to live until 120 or so … which is my plan).

Second, I think you are making a lot of assumptions about Michael, Mrs. Content Guy, and me.  Just sayin'. (You've never seen a picture of my wife.)

Also ... I'm not sure what site you're reading, but Mrs. Content Guy - often referred to here, and generally in the most revered terms - has never had a piece posted here in 19 years, at least not that I can remember.  So I'm not sure what that's about.

To be clear, I believe in diversity - but it also is important to point out that MNB has a staff of exactly one.  Me.  Michael contributes weekly pieces, but he's not staff.  (I actually like this structure - after 19 years, I still feel like a startup.)

That said, this actually is something that we talk about a lot, and one of the reasons that, whenever possible, I've asked a diverse group of young people to contribute to MNB … I want as many different opinions as possible, reflecting as many different experiences as possible.  And for the record, we actually have a fair amount of diversity in the "Your Views" section, though much of it is invisible because people are not always named.

Inevitably, there will come a time when I'll hang up my laptop, at least in terms of five-day-a-week MNB punditry, and hopefully there will be a new Content Person.  I would hope - and will work hard to be sure - that this person is someone who is very unlike me in terms of world view and experiences.

(If you know someone like this, and who likes the idea of writing five days a week and being publicly opinionated - and occasionally excoriated - for a living, let me know.  Never too early to start building a file…)