In other words, are you building relationship with your customers — or just milking them? As reported in the Daily Telegraph (Australia), Paris Hilton lost her inheritance. The embarrassment that Paris brought her paternal grandfather led to his decision not to share his wealth with someone who has not earned it.
We all know who Paris Hilton is. Barron Hilton was also an heir. He took the reigns of the Hilton Hotel chain as President in 1966, and was responsible for getting Hilton Hotels into the lucrative gambling business in 1970. When Barron’s father died nine years later, leaving the bulk of his estate to the Church and other charities, and almost nothing to his children, Barron contested the will. His lifelong career of working to build the hotel company won him the lawsuit in 1988.
What can we learn from the two?
The Hilton’s brand promise is that you will feel at home wherever you travel – with the best brands, as in well respected and known; best choices, as in being able to pick from a range of properties; and the best reach with 2,300 hotels in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico.
Paris is also well traveled. If you blog her name, you will come up with the most cohesive list of brand attributes I have seen in a while – sex appeal, shenanigans, and gossip. While the one was building, she was busy using.
If we carry the principles over to customer service and relationships, then we have two separate lists:
You are building when you:
– invest in infrastructure.
– spend your time developing standards of performance for you, not your customers.
– look at long term gains, not just quarterly profits.
– execute flawlessly with unwavering excellence.
On the other hand, you are milking when:
– the conversation is about you, not your customer’s needs.
– your primary metric of success is extracting value from your customer.
– you look at what you can get out of them today.
– your execution is mostly for show.
As you think about the way you conduct your business, run a small audit and see whether you are building those relationships or you are simply milking them. Milking is great for ending up on the first page of tabloids, is that what you really want?
Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • www.conversationagent.com