Repeating Yourself to Your Customers

I have a friend who works in the entertainment industry and who constantly regales me with funny stories. One really struck a chord with me and I realized it had a very profound thing to say about the business world, especially online.

The struggle between “creative types” and “business types” is no big secret. One is more interested in making a lasting project that really “says” something and the other wants a product that sells well. In the end, usually both are right, but it leads to funny exchanges.

One such exchange occurred between a writer and a team of producers. They were trying to nail down a script for a movie and kept going back and forth. Tensions were strained but eventually they were getting close. Right when things looked like they were almost done, the producers told the writer, “It just all feels so stale to us.”

I laughed because this happens to me sometimes. The problem isn’t the message is stale – it’s just that you’ve heard it so much you’ve become numb to it. If someone new had read the script mentioned above as it was they would’ve loved it. To the producers, though, they were about to pass out from boredom.

Keeping it Fresh… to Yourself

When running a business (online or otherwise) you can run into the dreaded daily slump. This slump usually comes after a particularly long or tough day and you realize you’ve got ten more of those days to go before you can rest. It makes you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into!

This slump can also affect how you communicate with customers. When you find yourself saying the same things over and over you want to change things up a bit. Reword the post, use different language, even alter the tone – anything so you don’t say the exact same thing you just said 500 times yesterday.

The problem with this is it’s often pointless. Like the movie script, a new customer isn’t going to know you’ve sent the same thing to zillions of other customers, nor do they care. They only care about themselves and the message they’re getting. So the only reason you’re changing up the message is it’s now stale to you, much like those producers.

Think about this from the customers’ point of view. As an example let’s say you’re answering an avalanche of customer support emails after an unexpected outage.

While the first 5,000 customers got regular emails, you suddenly get irritated with your message. This customer just wanted an answer to their question but now gets an email that’s entirely in limerick form. They don’t know your back story, they don’t care you’re bored; they think you’re blowing them off or have lost your mind!

Before you go off the rails and think everything is “stale,” consider what the customer will think of the wacky message you’re sending out. Just because you’re sick of saying the same thing over and over doesn’t mean you need to make drastic changes. If need be, change the venue or the method of sending out the message rather than the message itself.