A Lesson on Customer Relationship Management from Taylor Swift

By BKV in Media Strategy on July 18th, 2011


Hearts broke in the BKV office...

when we got the news at 4:30 p.m. one Wednesday: Taylor Swift’s Atlanta concerts were cancelled due to bronchitis. How could this have happened? Just that morning some employees had purchased front row tickets to the much-anticipated concert of the summer. While some would blame @Erin_Ledford, who suspiciously also had bronchitis at the time, we knew we had to pull ourselves together and mark our calendars for the October rain date. Instead of singing along in the arena with Taylor we’re biding our time and tiding ourselves over with this blog. 

On my drive home Friday as I lamented the postponement of the concert and listened to my Taylor Swift playlist, it occurred to me that there are many insights that can be gleaned from Taylor’s songs and actions. Not just insights on personal relationships or retaliation via song, but real insights on Customer Relationship Management for brands.

The first insight is how she and her team handled the concert cancellation, immediately sending out a sincere and heartfelt note explaining the situation. Taylor wrote: “It breaks my heart to miss out on this weekend's shows with my friends in Charlotte and Atlanta. I would never cancel if I thought I was physically able to perform these shows. I am so sorry to the fans, but I look forward to seeing you when we come back through your towns, which we will do.” While fans were disappointed, it was easier to understand when it was obvious how much Taylor regretted cancelling.

Below are our top songs by the country star that can inspire your brand to have better CRM, or at the very least, these song lyrics will help hold you over until those October concert dates.

“Love Story”: Sweep Your Customers Off Their Feet

You be the prince, and I'll be the princess,
It's a love story, baby, just say, 'yes'.”

One key to a successful long-lasting relationship is emotional attachment. Why should a customer stick with your brand when someone younger and cuter comes around with a flashy new product? Well, because they love you of course. Make your customers fall in love with your brand. Turn them into brand advocates with your fantastic customer service, your superior product, and service quality. Romance them. Treat those fans and customers like royalty and turn their experience with your brand into a fairytale and they’ll be saying you’re their Prince Charming. 

“Innocent” & “You’re Not Sorry”: Mistakes Happen, When They Do, Apologize to Your Customers, & Mean It

It's all right, just wait and see

Your string of lights are still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent

Lives change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to
Be brand new

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what happens after the mistake has been made that really defines you. Social media presents a new challenge for CRM—with thousands of tweets, blogs, and Facebook posts circulating the Internet it can be really hard to monitor it all and sort through the chaos. Reputation management is essential to maintaining a strong brand.

Kanye West took a huge hit to his reputation on that unforgettable night he stormed the stage at the MTV VMAs and interrupted Taylor’s acceptance speech. Innocent, the song she wrote in response to the incident was unexpected—instead of lashing out at the misguided rap star, she forgave him and declared that “Who you are is not what you did.”

No one’s perfect and your brand is no exception. Mistakes will be made. Responding to customer complaints and concerns and trying to make the situation right is a crucial part of managing your reputation and ensuring success. It’s important that the people who come across negative comments see that you’ve responded and corrected the mistake, showing them that “You’re still an innocent.”

All this time I was wasting,
Hoping you would come around
I've been giving out chances every time
And all you do is let me down
And it's taking me this long
Baby but I figured you out
And you're thinking we'll be fine again,
But not this time around

And you can tell me that you're sorry
But I don't believe you baby
Like I did - before
You're not sorry, no no oh”

Taylor always knows when a boy is lying to her; so do your customers. If you aren’t sincere in your apology or your attempt to make the situation right when you make a mistake, the customer will know and you may lose a valuable relationship. Research shows that “acquiring new customers costs six to seven times as much as maintaining existing customers” so making those customers happy will not only satisfy them, but also make business sense. When mistakes happen there is a critical opportunity to wow the customer with your superior service and commitment to the relationship. When you make a mistake, apologize and show them you are sorry.


You are the best thing that’s ever been mine”

Customer Relationship Management is hard, but going in with clear goals and a strategy for success will make everything easier. Your brand is nothing without your customers, your most valuable assets. If you follow the advice from Taylor’s songs, hopefully you’ll leave your customers raving about your brand and saying “You are the best thing, that’s ever been mine.”