Why Today’s Customers Are a Lot like Cats

I admit it–I am a cat lover!  I live with one that clearly was a queen or a princess in all of her former lives!   And, when I read a funny cat line, it always reminds me of today’s customers.  Here just a few:

  • Dogs have owners; cats have staff.
  • Dogs eat; cats dine.
  • In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
  • Some people have cats and go on to lead normal lives.
  • A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop!  Every time my cat lets me know I’m in “her chair” or that I need to stir her food…again, or I should open her window…wider, I think of today’s picky, fickle and vain customers.  Not, mind you, in a demeaning way…just in a new normal way!

The recession has rendered customers picky—only interested in the “best cat food” so to speak.  They are fickle—slow to show loyalty and quick to scamper away to a competitor if things are not “just right.”  And, we have “worshiped customers” with our propensity to give them ultra-personalization, leaving them rather vain.  Just see how you would react if a McDonald’s counter clerk told you, “Sorry, we will NOT hold the pickle on your big Mac.”

The path to my cat’s heart is very simple—just do exactly what she wants!   But, that is a path to bankruptcy with customers.  With customers, we unearth loyalty by finding new and better ways to include, involve, engage and energize them.  Customers don’t expect gourmet everything, like my cat.  But, they do expect service to be crafted and delivered with respect and admiration.  Customers don’t need you to scratch their back to win their praise.  But, they do come back when they get a quality offering, delivered with limited effort on their part, at an obvious fair price, and with an experience that makes them “purr.”








About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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