Is Your Goal Happy Customers?
If you’re focus is to make your customers happy then you’re just doing whatever they want, even if what they ask for is stupid. If the customer was always right, they wouldn’t need your expertise.
Customers hire you to help them generate business results. Do you know the business results your customers are striving for? If you don’t, you’re probably just trying to make your customers happy. Happy customers are easy to work with; you simply do what you’re told without having to think too much. You are at extreme risk of being replaced by companies who are willing to think and help their customers succeed, not just be happy.
What happens when what your customer is asking you to do doesn’t make any sense? Do you speak up or do you simply take their money? So many of us are tempted by business today at the expense of long-term partnerships tomorrow, for example I asked a group of printers how many of them allow their customers access to their spending with them online. Not only did none of them offer this convenience to their customers but many of them were adamant as to why this was a really bad idea. I was intrigued since the online world has established the expectation that we should be able to do just about everything and have access to all our data in a self-service fashion. The resistance is that the printer didn’t want the customer to be aware of their overall spending because they were afraid if they knew they would change their behavior or their buying patterns. Another example, printers tell me they can’t offer items for sale on their websites because their “best” customers would realize they are paying top dollar based on long term relationship and negotiated contract pricing. Whoa.
I think my father would have called this, “stepping over dollars to pick up pennies”. You are risking a long-term relationship based on short-term greed and deception. We are living in a time dominated by transparency, self-service, and constantly decreasing switching costs. What happens when another printer gets into your top customers shows them 100% transparency via a self-service online portal and competitive pricing? You’re gone in a New York second.
Servicing your customers isn’t enough; you have to partner with your customers to help them create business results IN THEIR BUSINESS. This means you’re whole focus is to create business results not happiness.