We should love our customers like we love puppies


My friend PatBlue pointed this out to me and I thought it was pretty smart. After the company meeting, we do a product fair so employees can check out new stuff that our product and research teams are creating. It’s your basic booth set-up, from what I understand. One of the booths was for what we call CPE; customer and partner experience. As a company, we perceive CPE to be part of everyone’s job. I think I’ve blogged in the past about how “customer sat” became a big buzzword around her in the late 90s, early 2000s. I think the move from “customer sat” to CPE represents the fact that it’s part of everything you do rather than strictly initiative based. Because if you wait until valentines day to celebrate your love, I promise you it’s too late.


So CPE is part of everyone’s job (and kind of partially explains what I am doing hanging out here) and coincidentally, this same group of people (everyone) loves puppies. Hey, when two markets cross over like that, I smell a marketing opportunity (smells like sweet puppy breath).


The challenge with CPE isn’t necessarily telling people how to get it right but really reinforcing the importance. It’s an awareness thing. Sometimes you might need tools, sometime you might need a reminder (for example, have you written your commitments with the customer in mind). So getting the CPE message in front of people is muy importante. That’s where the puppies come in.


For every Microsoft employee that visits the CPE Portal (employees type cpe/puppy), Microsoft will donate $1 to the Humane Society (where I met my buddy Jonas…I’m a big fan). Everybody wins. I hope that HSUS makes some bank from us this year.


I would have loved to be in the meeting where this promotion originated.


“What can we give employees to get them to the CPE site”


“Hmm, we really need to get everyone to the site”


“Yeah, we need to find a marketing program that appeals to everyone…the techies and non-techies alike”


“What does everybody love?”


“Puppies!” 


Now what employee can resist clicking on the link to the site? Once you are there, the content is worthy of reviewing. I love the idea!

Comments (15)

  1. Wow, another three-letter abbreviation with multiple definitions (Does the ATM connect to the ATM network over ATM?). With my work experience managing CPE products in telecom, I think hearing this CPE would give me constant “what? oh, right…” moments.

    Maybe we need a bin for recycled TLAs. :-)

    I like puppies, though.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    What else does CPE stand for?

    Most people think ATM = automated teller machine. Wrong! Well, that’s not what it originally stood for but we have a habit in the US of taking something that we misinderstood and making it an "alternative definition" or "alternate spelling".

    Puppies are good.

  3. I worked with customer premises equipment, also known as modems. Actually, I was the OEM CPE PLM in the HSI group (which made DSL products), which is almost governmental in the (ab)use of abbreviations.

    I never earned a Certificate of Proficiency in English, but I think Continuing Professional Education is a good idea.

    The puppies can get involved with Canine Performance Events if they like exercise.

    I can never remember if your blog allows HTML, so you’ll just have to see the list at Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPE

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ooh, canine performance events! My favorite!

  5. Nick says:

    That is so true! However, that is dreamland. I will give an example using a company that I used work for, Publix Super Markets. Every so often I will watch a commercial for Publix showing the cheerful and helpful employees always looking to go out of their way for the customer. Everything seems so hunkydory.

    You go to the store, and nothing is as it seems on the commercial that you just saw. Where are the cheerful and helpful employees? Why is there such a disconnect between what corporate is trying to project in its commercials and at the store level?

  6. Patblue says:

    I am famous! I finally get called out in HH’s blog. This is a daydream come true. AND lunch at RR tomorrow as well.

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Well, to be clear, Nick, the website I was talking about was an internal website. Most commercials show employees that are so ridiculously happy that if you actually encountered them in real life, you would think there was something wrong with them…or is that just me? I’m not saying that people should act like fools (and trust me, the CPR site doesn’t recommend that), just that people think about how the things they do impact cutomers and partners. Things like returning calls shouldn’t be dreamland.

    Oh PatBlue, just think, you knew me when. Hee! Trust me, not much has changed!

  8. Vicki says:

    I think this idea is great!!
    Personally, I am a long-time supporter of the HSUS, ASPCA and other animal shelters. Not just from a donation stand-point, but also hands-on help.
    The ONLY drawback to donating to the Humane Society is the amount of overhead that they have – and your donations are going to their higher admin costs – but still, KUDOS to Microsoft!
    Thanks for sharing the good news. :)
    P.S. Puppies rock!

  9. Wine-Oh says:

    At my company this week its customer appreciation week. Not only external customers, but us as workers who work there. We have been treated to special appearances by senior management, coffee breaks and a happy hour friday!

  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    WIne-Oh, that’s really a nice idea. Hopefully, they do it as a reminder to appreciate people versus a reason to only appreciate them one week of the year. : ) I’m sure it’s the former.

  11. Bhaskar says:

    I completely agree with the idea of ‘Keeping Consumer First’.He/She is the business and he is important..

  12. Wine-Oh says:

    LOL yea. The week ends with a company happy hour. I come in each day with a different company message on my voice mail from a member of executive management. Its a nice touch.

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Bhaskar-I’d agree…at least as it pertains to a large portion of customers (back to the fire the customer conversation….somce cost more than they allow you to recoup in revenue/goodwill, etc)

    Wine-Oh- at least they aren’t voicemails telling you why the exec is promoting their son into a VP position…right? I think I told you guys about that. That’s is what comes to mind when I think of broadcast voicemails.

  14. Tim says:

    That is, by the way, a brilliant idea how to get everyone to use an important part of your site. I love its unconventionality. An idea so good that I am, in fact, going to steal it.

    (And when you see Puppy Breath cologne on the market, thank me.)

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    OK, Tim, your secret is safe with me : ) I’m glad you liked it too. On the one had, I was like "hey, you are manipulating me", but then I thought "you are manipulating me to do 2 good things at the same time…oh, OK, I’m fine with it".