On to the next sale.

Kathy Sierra thinks that the marketing department should be creating the user manuals for products as well as the marketing literature:

Why do so many companies treat potential users so much better than existing users? Think about it. The brochure is a thing of beauty, while the user manual is a thing of boredom. The brochure gets the big budget while the manual gets the big index. What if we stopped making the docs we give away for free SO much nicer than the ones the user paid for? What if instead of seducing potential users to buy, we seduced existing users to learn?

But that assumes that companies care about the customer once they’ve made the sale, and frankly a lot of times that just isn’t the case. Cell phone companies are a perfect example. They want to get you to sign up for a two- or three-year locked in agreement, after which they don’t give a damn about you. All the special offers go to new customers, while existing customers get nothing.

Enterprise software companies are perfect examples too. They are focused on the big sale, promising whatever it takes to close the deal, even though those promises may never be delivered upon.

So before you can follow Kathy’s line of thought you first have to understand is your company actually cares about the customer, or just the potential customer.

When you get right down to it, extended warranties are a symptom of this as well. Rather than build a product that will work and last well at a slightly higher price, manufacturers cheap out on the product, and retailers make a few extra bucks selling an insurance policy – but only to the new customer. Existing customers aren’t eligible.

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