We all love to read transformation stories.
In our hearts we crave the Cinderella story where our fairy godmother waves her magic wand and a pumpkin and bunch of mice turn into a horse-drawn carriage.
Or our ugly duckling looks change and we become a beautiful swan.
Alas life isn’t like that – or can it be?
This series is about showing you (with the help and blessing from some of my wonderful clients) exactly how the ugly can be transformed into beautiful.
More often than not people can write, they just lack the eye to see the angle that will best highlight their big idea. And writing is often the easy part – it’s more often in the editing where the brilliance shines through; taking what started out as quite ordinary and turning it into magic.
The lesson amongst all these examples is that you need to look within your writing to see the potential of what it can be …
Case study project:
Monthly newsletter – sales training business
Their monthly newsletter lacked engagement and the client had no confidence in their writing skills. Ideas were not the problem, time and execution was.
I suggested they emotionally engage (rather than intellectually) with their readers and over time take them through the know, like, trust (KLT) journey. The use of personal stories (as an emotional metaphor for the big idea) was an important technique to use, as well as ensuring that each newsletter cast a very narrow shadow, containing just one single idea.
Each month the client provided a rough draft of the main newsletter content/article, which I then (ghost) rewrote, uploaded to Mailchimp and sent out for them.
The main message of the article was maintained, but reframed in a more emotionally engaging way and with an interesting angle. The aim was to attract readers and create a connection – so that they slowly got to know the person/business, as the first step on KLT.
The big idea/theme for this issue was ‘the lifetime value of a customer‘. The rewritten version appears below (complete with image) and if you’re interested in seeing how it started out, that also appears at the end.
Oh … and their readers started replying and the phone began ringing.
AFTER: The beauty
How my wife’s wedding dress destroyed our relationship …
We were close. Really close.
Our relationship had been discreetly going on-and-off for close to 30 years, and it had grown to become a vital part of my life and how I functioned. It was important to me.
But suddenly, it was gone. All because of my wife’s wedding dress.
I’ve often thought how odd it is that objects can be transformed into significant ones by simple acts, events and the stories that attach to them. My wife’s wedding dress – as well as signifying a momentous and joyous day – has now gained another attachment.
It’s killed my relationship – a valued lifetime one – with my dry cleaner.
After 22 years of not-as-lovingly-as-it-could-have-been-given care [poor storage] the dress was discovered lurking on top of our daughter’s cupboard. With an anniversary close by I hatched a plan to have the dress cleaned, acid-free-wrapped and re-boxed [much-more-care] as a gift for my wife.
My valued lifelong service provider [dry cleaner] was to be my trusted accomplice in delivering what I desired – happiness and reclaimed joy for my wife. For that, I’d pay whatever I needed.
But my hero failed the quest. Totally and utterly.
He lost my loyalty. And my patronage.
I had believed that my local dry cleaner (who I’ve frequented for most of my adult life) had enjoyed our relationship. We’d enriched each other’s lives: his through my constant patronage and payment (amounting to some $40K over the years) and I through the perfectly clean, pressed clothes that he provided to frame my worldview.
I would go so far as to say that it had been a mutually beneficial relationship – typical of a valued lifetime customer and provider.
But when it mattered most, he failed me. Instead he became a money-grubbing-retailer. Not a pretty sight, I can tell you!
On returning to pick up the dress, he informed me they’d been unable to remove all the stains (not a huge surprise) and therefore wouldn’t charge me for the quoted extra cleaning costs (definitely a surprise) – reinforcing my initial decision to trust him.
However he went on and explained that I was now being charged extra for the wrapping and boxing. What the …!?
I politely informed him I’d return for the dress – wrapped and boxed as promised – for the quoted price. I left.
Digging himself deeper into patronage-oblivion as far as I was now concerned, he followed me to my car. There, he suggested I could take the dress, paper and box today … if I liked.
My answer was short.
There are few words that excuse the behaviours of business-insanity; especially when they override customer-centred-service.
Sadly, I see him no more. Our relationship is over.
And I’ve moved on, past the many, many years we worked well together.
With a single act, my value to him was lost.
Do you measure the value of your lifetime customers?
Like to know more?
[Client contact details, CTA etc]
Photo credit: fensterbme via photopin cc
BEFORE: The beast
Theme: The lifetime value of a client
How to save your wife’s wedding dress
Earlier this year I celebrated my 22nd wedding anniversary and accordingly I should have located a gift made of copper. However I decided to do something different, during a recent clean-up we came across my wife’s wedding dress albeit beautifully packed in an extra-long cardboard box.
My thought was to have my wife’s wedding dress cleaned as an anniversary present. It occurred to me that this was a really thoughtful gift and no doubt that would really excite my wife.
My journey started with a trip to the dry cleaners, one that I have patronised for the last 30 years. David the dry cleaner looked longingly at the dress and suggested that it may need to be sent to a specialist to remove a couple of small stains. In true customer service style David also offered to wrap the dress in acid paper and repack it into a suitable box for further storage for an extra $30. Of course I accepted his recommended upsell.
A few weeks later I receive a call from David and was asked to come down to the dry cleaners to discuss the wedding dress. Thinking OMG what has gone wrong, upon arriving at the dry cleaners David advised me that they had been unable to remove the small stains, and that he won’t be charging me for the additional cleaning that he initially had quoted.
At that point I remember smiling and thinking that I had ‘Valued Lifetime Client’ stamped on my forehead (as over the last 30 year I estimate that I have spent well over $40,000 on dry cleaning alone). I really appreciated David’s gesture.
However my thoughts were soon to be shattered, in his next breath he told me that seeing he wasn’t charging me for the extra dry cleaning, he was going to charge me extra to wrap and box the dress and for that, it was now $50 not $30 as initially quoted.
I’m not too sure what it was that caused me to react unfavourably – was it the instant 66% price increase, was it because it was all about my wife’s wedding dress or was it that he was so short sighted on this one transaction v’s the tens of thousands of dollars I had spent at this establishment over many years.
Needless to say in a very polite tone I suggested that I would like to have the dress wrapped and boxed as initially quoted for $30 and that I would be back in a week to pick it up.
I remember walking out shaking my head, only to discover that David was following me across the car park, upon catching up to me he suggested that I could take the dress, the paper and the box today if I like? Needless to say I responded with “I’d like to have the dress wrapped and boxed as initially quoted and that I would be back in a week”
I drove away thinking what other dry cleaners were convenient and that I could use in future, needless to say I think I’ll be finding another dry cleaner who will appreciate my lifetime value.
How do you measure the lifetime value of a client?
In these economic times are your team empowered to recognise and acknowledge your lifetime clients?
Should you like to discuss a formula to value your lifetime clients please don’t hesitate to contact me.
What do you think?
What else could I have done to transform this?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a comment below and we can talk…