Birds fly away, and so do customers

A few mornings ago, I was taking a relaxing walk with my friend Ezra in the Gan Sacher, a park in Jerusalem.

Birds were everywhere in the park. I had my tiny Flip video camera, and I trained it on the birds as I walked up to them. Of course, as soon as I would get close, the birds’ defensive instincts told them to fly away. As I tried to walk gingerly up to the birds (without much success), it reminded me of the defensive instincts customers employ to survive the barrage of marketing messages that interrupt them everyday.

This silent 90 second film is just a simple thought for today, inspired by birds trying to live their lives without interruption.

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Posted in Customer Encounters, Marketing, Observations
4 comments on “Birds fly away, and so do customers
  1. amanda says:

    I felt just like one of those birds last night at the Men’s Wearhouse, where we were buying my husband a suit. The salesman tried to sneak up to us with an additional sport coat, shirt and tie or cedar hanger, and we would run away! After we avoided all his traps and made our way to the check-out, he was poised with his net as he asked for our email address, thinking surely someday he’d capture us.

    Macy’s was even worse, though. It was like a nature preserve where we could run free amongst the suits with no one to take my husband’s measurements.

    That’s a stunning striped bird, by the way. What is it?

    • The Mens Wearhouse salesman would probably love to put you in a cage so you could buy from him whenever he is ready.

      The metaphor seemed so obvious to me as I tried to walk up to the birds!

      The striped bird is called a “duchifat” (sp?) in Hebrew, and hoopoe in English. (I’m not a bird expert – Ezra knew)

    • As marketers, don’t we have to concede that the Men’s Wearhouse experience is better than the Macy’s experience? On another day, you might welcome the synergistic selling efforts as beneficial, aimed at putting you into a coordinated outfit. It’s hard to imagine a day, though, when you really want to be ignored.

      • Sure, the Men’s Wearhouse was better than Macy’s. That’s why we bought a suit there instead of at Macy’s.

        There was nothing synergistic about the experience, though. I suspect the poor sales guy had some quota to meet, and the company’s metrics got in the way of his common, good sense. I liked him as a person, but his company-dictated goals were not in line with what makes for a good customer experience.

        Oddly, though, I usually love to be ignored in stores. I love the IKEA model where “all the information is on the tag.” Tags can’t try to weasel a little bit more commission out of you and are friendlier than the average store clerk. Rest assured, if I knew what measurements to take for my husband’s suit, we would have loved not being bothered at Macy’s.

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