Publication details [#2807]

Bradner, Scott. 2006. Goat cheese as a metaphor for customer care. Octante 18 : 23–23. 1 pp. URL
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Article in journal
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Clegg Ivey a vice president with VoIP company Voxeo, recently told me a story about a restaurant near the company's Orlando headquarters that was losing track of what made it successful. The restaurant's food wasn't something you would go out of your way for, except for a goat cheese appetizer that Ivey said "was to die for". The restaurant became a favorite of the Voxeo staff almost entirely because of the appetizer. But the staff recently learned that the menu had changed and the goat cheese appetizer was no longer on it. The restaurant had hired a new chef who wanted the menu to reflect his vision, not the past chef's. Ivey told the story to point out that it is easy for companies to ignore what products or features attracted the customers they already have. Ignoring this risks alienating those customers such that they may quickly become ex-customers, just as most of the Voxeo staff has. Ivey offers "don't take goat cheese off the menu" as a phrase that can be used to remind companies not to forget what the customers liked about the company. The reverse is true as well - don't forget to replace what the customers hate. Preserving bad products because you know how to make them is at least as much of a risk as tossing out the good ones. The goat cheese admonition must not get in the way of new products or product evolution - maybe the new chef at Ivey's restaurant has some very good recipes that will eclipse the goat cheese appetizer. (Scott Bradner)