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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy birthday dear customer!

No wonder we have become a ‘like’ generation whereby we limit our interactions and expressions to our friends and families through Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons only. Too busy we are sometimes even to post a comment, or a message in the inbox, let alone picking up the phone and chatting for nothing for a while. That is how some friendship has become, while the number of 'friends' in your Facebook list keeps growing, what an irony. So I knew that way that my friend Harun is busy with his life and work in Finland and we never communicated for more than a couple of years now. Everybody is busy. So when he finally decided to show up (on Facebook that is) with a wish on my birthday, all this bitter and void feeling of ‘not being in touch’ disappeared. I was wondering if its true to some extent that people in general are more sensitive, or vulnerable or receptive to attention, or atleast they expect to be remembered on their birthdays. I don’t know if its true for all ages or all gender or for all consumer in all countries or not, may be it’s a human thing that exists sub-consciously even if we consciously deny it. What do you think about it?

In the same note if you notice that your date of birth is one of the most sensitive information companies can collect while you subscribe to their products or services. How many of those companies actually do something with that piece of very personal and unique information of yours when the day actually arrives? Other than letting the data lie dormant in the company’s member database, wouldn’t it be nice if the company could do something to make your day more special to you? Say for example, you get a text from your mobile operator on your birthday exactly when the clock strikes 12 AM saying, “Happy Birthday Asif, you are given 100 taka of free talk time to enjoy on your special day as a gift from Grameen Phone and its staff. Enjoy!’. How would you feel if the brands you love return the same on a day which is very special to you? Similarly the restaurants you visit, the food malls you go to, if at any time they have collected your date of birth, they have all the more reasons to try to connect to you on a personal basis, so that they can send you some gifts in the form of freebies, vouchers to spend or any special discounts for you only valid for that day. The companies should remember however that they should not take this day as another opportunity to push sell or promote a new product, rather the focus should be more on celebrating the customer, his/her loyalty to the brand all through out. One might argue that what happens if birthdays of 10000 customers fall on one day? Or you might argue that this is extra cost for the company in terms of customer service. In that case, its always a good idea may be to either randomise this birthday special treatment within a limit of customers which don’t dent the company’s budgets. But the fact is, its better to communicate to atleast some chosen customers on their birthdays rather than not communicating to anyone at all.

It does not require any market research to predict that consumptions tend to be higher right after monthly pay days. Similarly it’s a general assumption that consumers as a community might be more prone to buying your product during community events such as Eid, Puja, National festivals etc. but if you intend to get connected to users on a more individual level, its worthwhile to plan your activities surrounding their birthdays. Every customer feels like a king for atleast that one day, and your brand can certainly make an impression by showing up with a nice little gift of thanks or appreciation. And finally for those Bangladeshi consumers who are celebrating their birthday today and reading this post, wishing you a very happy birthday and happy consumer experience with Bangladeshi brands!

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