Besides my rambunctious chihuahua Romeo, two other animals live in my abode: Myles and Syvlia. Both of which are black cats. And both of which almost died this past week (kinda kidding, kinda not) from avoiding their cat food like the plague.
Here’s the story:
Peanut went to the store last week and bought a brand-spanking-new kind of cat food for our cats because we still had an extra week before our Chewy shipment came. This new type of cat food is supposedly better and healthier than your generic cat food.
But here was the massive problem Peanut and I stressed about all last week:
Neither cat liked this food. In fact, I’m not convinced either of them actually ate this new food for the ~5 days they were fed it. Of course, their food kept disappearing from their bowls, so perhaps they did eat it. But both of us caught Romeo, our dog with a fetish for cat food, eating from their bowls instead of his own multiple times.
Turns out, a day before Chewy delivered the food they know and love, that either of us noticed the instructions on the package of our new and healthy cat food:
The instructions listed on the package said that in order to get your cats to enjoy this new and healthier food, you had to wean them off their regular food. This process takes about a week:
For example, on the first day, you had to use 25% new food, and 75% old food. Then, you were to slowly ramp up each day, until, magically, the cats could stomach the healthier stuff.
This all made complete sense… but it took a full 5 days for either of us to realize these instructions on the bag, leading us to believe that the marketing team for this newer and healthier cat food wanted cats to starve and die.
Of course, there’s a hint of sarcasm in my finger bones as I type this. But the point remains:
Sometimes your customers aren’t gonna see your instructions, let alone follow them.
What this company should’ve done, in my biased, but correct opinion, is add a little one-sheet inside the bag alongside cat food, so it was impossible to ignore. If I was consulting them, I’d also enroll customers in a post-purchase sequence that delivered these important instructions via email too.
And yet, they didn’t. And our poor cats suffered for longer than they should’ve with minimal food. (Luckily, both of our cats are pigs, and probably had enough food inside them to last them for weeks.)
Moral of the story?
I have a couple:
1. Never assume your customers will follow instructions (unless you want cats to die).
2. Never underestimate the process customers will have to go through to get the most out of your products and services.
Got a quick side story for point #2:
Last week, I met with another prospective customer a few times who had a similar, albeit much different problem:
After auditing her Klaviyo account, I noticed she only utilized 0.3% of her list. Of the ~30,000 email subscribers she has in Klaviyo, she only sent an email to ~200 in the last 30 days.
Needless to say, there’s a ton of untapped potential lurking inside her Klaviyo account. Yet, my plan—if we end up working together, that is—is to slowly ramp up sending.
Because going from sending ~200 emails per month to ~30,000 in one send will tank our deliverability and force Klaviyo to ban us. It’s the same result that happened from switching 100% to this newer, healthier cat food, besides, well, the hangry meows of our cats.
3. It doesn’t matter if your product or service is better if your customers don’t know how to use it.
This is why OG’s like Jim Clair chat about the “General Experience” your customers have. The general experience creates more value than a superior product ever could.
Let these lessons soak in your noggin, and identity if you’re making any of these mistakes in your business.
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