Remember the Customers

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As an employee at a company you have certain tasks, certain rules and routines to follow. If you complete your tasks according to your job specifications you are doing a good job. One thing people tend to forget in all the havoc is the customer. The customer is the only reason that you have this job in the first place.

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford.

Henry Ford was a wise person. A company does not obtain unlimited amounts of money to pay you forever. If you do a bad job, it might run out of money faster, if you do a great job, the company might be able to handle you some more money over time. If it is a small company your cash flow influence is greater and has more impact than with a large company. This is because in greater companies a lot more people work to generate money, and one ineffective employee won’t be spotted just as easily.

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This is why it is so important for all employees to understand the importance of generating money for the company they work with. If you work in a small company you will see your own impact directly on the results. In big companies these employees are small creeks becoming one big river. As a part of becoming a great employee focus on what you can do to either save money or to generate money or at best, both. Activities that promotes either savings or money generation should be highly appreciated as this is actually why you where hired in the first place.

So back to basic.

Who is generating your money? Yes, this is the customer. You need to provide great service to customers.

Something to discuss.

I recently heard Lior Arussy talk at a conference in Oslo about what customers to focus on and how you should treat customers differently. This is actually very interesting, and I would like to hear your opinion about this. There are four different kinds of customers. (This is from my memory and not his 100 % exact words)

  1. Big spending customer with low demands
  2. Big spending customer with high demands
  3. Low spending customers with low demands
  4. Low spending customer with high demands

Guess what kind of customer should experience the best possible customer experience? He also said at the conference that the customer that have little revenue and make a lot of noise should be dropped. This is a win win situation for the company as you let go of this customer and he runs to the competition demanding their time for dimes instead. I find this interesting as sure there are different kinds of customers. And some fall in the not money making category. Should we try to get them to the competition? (Lior, if you by any chance read this, correct me if I am wrong)

So should you treat all your customers equal?

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2 Comments on "Remember the Customers"

  1. Frode Heimen | May 22, 2009 at 5:21 pm |

    Hi Paula, thanks for reading.

    Pareto’s law is a good indicator. If I have learned one thing in my life, it is that the customers are not always right. Still a lot of them think they are, and try to use it as pressure. I am also 100 % behind my employees and have a strict rule to customers that are offensive; Take your business elsewhere.

    I think that products today are very similar, and customers will start to pay extra for the different levels of support. Let’s imagine a product or service that sells for $40 pr month. The price is equal with all competing companies more or less. But you can pay an extra fee for different level of support or pay pr minute. The level of service might be something you might end up paying for. I like this idea and imagine products that differ in service level. For instance you could pay for Product A with standard service levels or Product A VIP with a higher service level.

  2. I must admit that I was prepping myself, with teeth gritted, to read yet-another “customer is always right” diatribe. So I was pleasantly surprised when I read something that was actually rational.

    So should you treat all of your customers equally?

    No, of course not.

    Pareto’s Law states – in a nutshell – that 80% of your income is going to come from 20% of your clients, and 80% of your hassles are going to come from 20% of your clients.

    Thing is, there will be very little, if any, overlap in those two blocks of 20%.

    The whole “customer is always right” ethos may have been valuable at one time, but life and business is never static. It’s time to do a complete re-think of what customer service is, and whether one should serve the customer at the cost of alienating employees.

    For me, it’s no contest. I stand by my employees. Full stop.

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