Random but Reflective Ramblings of a Lone Consultant – No.2 Know your Customer (Connie the Dulux dog)
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Random but Reflective Ramblings of a Lone Consultant – No.2 Know your Customer (Connie the Dulux dog)

Eventually after 5 years of trying I eventually managed to hold down a regular position in our Rugby Clubs first team-weights Monday and Wednesday, team training Tuesday and Thursday and limiting cider consumption on a Friday night to under 6 pints (in before 12 for a league game).  With all this came the trophy girlfriend of course, 3 years younger wealthy mummy and daddy (my mam would throw me out if I called her mum),  Renault Clio, Benetton sweaters (around the shoulders), wine and soda, crisps but no “erotic” flavours, in the opera/dance society and most importantly love of dogs. Katherine Jones (name has been changed) (really Kathleen but hated it)-(never Kathy, Katie or Ka)- was her name. Connie was the dog (name also changed) -an English sheepdog (ahh you say a Dulux dog…as I did). I never really understood dogs, they seem like a big smelly waste of space in my book, but if Katherine and I were to have a future I needed to understand my customer. On my visits to Mummy and Daddies, I would always take Connie a pack of doggie treats that they sold in the market, this seemed to endear the dog to me and make Katherine tolerate my council estate ways.

As a team we were having a good season, we had managed to lie, cheat and beat our way to the last 16 of the Welsh Cup. Neath was our target for the next round, the best side in Wales with  10 internationals in their starting line-up. Day of the match came and we had a crowd of over 3,000 in the welfare park, the buzz was amazing. I was due to play against an all international front row and had not been able to sleep for 3 days before the match. Neath ran out and we followed them 2 minutes later allowing the tension to build. I had taped up my ears, spiked my hair and rolled my sleeves up rugby league style. I set about prowling up and down the 10 yard line glaring at all their superstars. I heard a commotion in the crowd a mixture of laughter and alarm but was too busy to turn as I had one of their British Lions in my sights – he was starring right through me and smiling-cocky git. Next thing I know I’m flat on my face in the mud and something has its tongue in my ear, the laughter from the crowd is now quite intense. I turn around and a big grinning dog face is looking at me – Connie has slipped her lead and gone looking for doggie treats. That was it my big day was over, instead of cheers I had to endure “walkies”. We eventually ran out gallant losers on the day 66-6. The bar after was full to capacity and I fell into the “let’s have 8 pints before 5.30 club. My chosen tipple being flat bow from the bottle. So you can guess the ending Katherine and Connie picked me up at 6 o’clock in the Renault to have a meal with Mummy and Daddy.  Despite lining my stomach with 3 corned beef and onion rolls, the fresh air hit me and the evening turned into a blur. Next day I was told to consider myself dumped, strangely enough though Connie and I are still friends.

So where did I go wrong? I did not know my customer, in fact I ended up serving the wrong customer, I’d replaced Katherine with Connie, yes Katherine valued me getting on with Connie but being polite, sober and grown up was far higher on her list. In business we need to understand our customers and establish appropriate controls to enable customer satisfaction to be optimised. People talk about customer needs we need to be able to measure these needs. I find severity and occurrence a great way of establishing risk in the eyes of the customer. For ourselves we need to establish how good we are at detecting potential issues.

The next time I’m 23 I will conduct a customer insight survey on any potential girlfriends. This will enable me to identify their top 5 requirements and rank them in terms of importance. Analysing myself and setting up appropriate process kpi’s will enable me to devise the optimum customer experience. On the other hand I could just drink too much, enjoy myself and see how many dogs I can befriend.

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