Changing the Blade (Issue 948)

In which we are encouraged to establish routine reviews of client satisfaction and product performance.

I’d finally had enough. Despite my efforts to prepare my face and soften my morning facial stubble, my morning shave was painful; I could feel the razor “pulling”, like a fork through gravel, rather than cutting cleanly. Not that this morning was the first morning I’d felt the “pulling” and, for whatever reason, on this morning, I’d had enough.

“Time for a new blade,” I thought, reaching for the drawer in which I keep such things.

New blade in hand, I turned back to the razor handle to push the ejector button to eject the old blade. Couldn’t move it. It’s a black button that sits on top of the handle; to eject the blade, one pushes the button toward the blade with one’s thumb. Couldn’t move it. I tried again with two thumbs. Couldn’t move it.

I raised the handle to eye level. The button was surrounded by crusted soap and shaving gel from who-knows how many previous shaves. Couldn’t move it.

“Nick, you are completely ridiculous,” my internal voice of reason intoned. “You should have replaced that blade weeks ago. And how hard is it to rinse and clear the razor handle each time you shave?”

My internal voice of daily life gave the usual shoulder-shrugging response: “ I   d o n ‘ t   k n o w .”

I filled a short cup with hot water, immersed the top of the handle to soak for a few minutes, removed the handle from the hot water, scrubbed the top of the handle with a nail brush, and, voila, old blade easily ejected, new one inserted.

So, here we have a client with no razor replacement schedule; with no handle maintenance routine; with no “shaving experience standards”; who occasionally noticed but did not complain about or act on a gradual degradation of performance over a period of weeks; who, if asked about his shaving experience a week before would have said “it’s fine”; and who, one morning, decided that he’d had enough, it was time to switch. Just like that. Switch blades, in this case, and it could have been “throw this whole lot out and purchase an entirely new shaving kit from a different company” like the one that frequently promotes its German factory and razor blades, a company that really understands shaving.

The shaving fairy who guided this client to the currently-used razor set up did not set his or her client up with performance standards; did not recommend either maintenance or replacement schedules; did not check in regarding performance and satisfaction from time to time; and was nowhere to be found before or when “I’ve had enough” occurred.

Maybe those European razors would really be a better option.

Nick Miller trains banks and bankers to attract and expand relationships with business clients by providing value beyond their products. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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