VIDEO: How Not To Overserve Your Customers

I have been saying for some time that we are beginning to overserve our customers.  

I am not saying that we should not do some of the things we have been doing lately (like video tributes that add value to our services) but hanging our hats on those activities as if they will save traditional funerals is a mistake.  Right now our industry / profession is in the early stages of radical transformation.

We will soon begin talking about reinventing ourselves.   Some will claim they have already begun reinventing themselves by introducing innovations like webcasting, trinkets, multicolor paper goods, balloon releases and the like.  This is not reinvention.  In the words of famed management guru, Peter Drucker, it is patching.  We are only dressing up what we already sell in an attempt to make it more appealing to a customer who is demonstrating a disconnect.  Then we misinterpret their momentary satisfaction as long term commitment.

Think of it this way: You, your peers and colleagues are all faced with a massive “Sea Change” relative to the markets we serve.  It has become obvious even to the most uninformed that the world has changed. A change of this magnitude causes all of us to grieve.

Our profession is now in various stages of the grief cycle.

The “dressing up of the funeral” that has been taking place these last ten years has actually been long overdue but it is only dressing up (patching as Drucker would say).  Those who have adopted these measures have experienced success in customer satisfaction…but many have also learned that customer satisfaction is no guarantee of repeat business.   In reality patching correlates with the “Bargaining Phase” of grief.  “If I make it better maybe they will see more value.”  And for a while they do, after all it is better than what you were doing…until there is an alternative that speaks to what they are looking for.  And what they are looking for does not currently exist so they can’t tell you what it is.

Patching reminds me of an old Charlie Brown cartoon in which a sad faced Charlie Brown is saying,

“Doing a good job around here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit.  

You get a warm feeling and no one notices.”

In this brief video Harvard Professor and author, Frances Frei talks about the challenges we face.  I find her Pretzel Metaphor particularly helpful.

For further discussion:

This article is linked to the Creedy Commentary article “Licensing Laws: Barrier To Survival”  Click on my photo to return to that article.



To order Frances Frei’s book from Amazon click on the image below


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