We Can All (Hopefully) Learn From Halloween

Halloween is a lot of fun. 

You don’t know what you’re going to run into — from free candy in offices to co-workers dressed-up like vampires. And later today, I’m sure that my house will be invaded by swarms of Hannah Montana and Jason Varitek (and Tom Brady) look-a-likes demanding treats. It all seems to work out well for retailers who, according to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, rake in $5 billion.

Since the holiday has already been commercialized, I thought I’d suggest 5 ghoulish customer experience lessons that companies can learn from Halloween:

  1. Kids just wanna have fun. In an upcoming research report called “The Gen Y Design Guide,” we describe 4 strategies for designing experiences for younger consumers. These approaches are based on how young consumers are different mentally, socially, and emotionally from older consumers. One of the key things to keep in mind: They enjoy absurdity — and humor with an odd slant.

  2. Treats avoid tricks. If you want to keep your customers from saying bad things about you, leaving you, or other bad “tricks,” then find ways to treat them well. When’s the last time that you designed a campaign to thank your good customers for being good customers (and not just to sell them something new)?

  3. It’s not about your favorite candy. In this day and age of safety, most parents don’t let kids eat things like unwrapped candy or fruit. So even if you love eating hand-fulls of loose candy corns, you probably wouldn’t hand them out that way to the kids. When thinking about how you interact with customers, make sure that you keep their needs top of mind (and not overly focus on your own).

  4. Safety always comes first. When kids come to your front door, you have to make sure that the stairs are well lit and free of clutter. No-one wants little kids hurting themselves. Customers deserve that same consideration around safety and security when you’re handling their personal information.

  5. Don’t take things too seriously. It’s hard not to smile when you see kids dressed up in their Halloween gear. You should find a reason to smile like that every day.

 The bottom line: Have a wonderfully Happy Halloween!

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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