Contrary Customers – Let them go…

This is a hard one to swallow but…let them go! Really, some customers are fantastic, lots of them are better, but difficult ones, or maybe best to say those without your vision, need to be let go.

There’s a rather well-known business book which gives you the authority and the okay to let them go, and I agree. After re-reading my copy of ‘Raving Fans’ I was reminded that while it’s important…no, imperative, to create ‘raving fans’ it’s also important to let go of those whom you simply cannot please. ‘…You have to know when to ignore what the customer wants and, if necessary, tell the customer to take his vision elsewhere to be fulfilled.’ Now, don’t look at this as a free and easy pass to release ‘difficult’ but potentially viable customers. Face it; only in heaven do those customers not exist! The key is knowing when to cut ties but to not do so before trying your best to convert said customer into a raving fan.

A company’s objective is to put forth vital products and/or services. A company’s responsibility is to make customers happy not only because it is always a good course of action (making others happy with your product/services) but because happy customers turn into repeat customers who spread the word which then leads to other customers looking for your kind of customer care. Now doesn’t that sound fantastic? Not only are you keeping a satisfied customer you’re likely bringing on more because your customer, turned ‘raving fan’ tells others and your customer base grows simply because you’re pleasing your current customers.

Now the hard part…how does one do this? Look back with me to a date night with my family last night at our local boutique frozen yogurt shop. Now, I should preface this by letting you know this isn’t your local dip and dash type place. This is a true hands-on, participatory experience. You choose your base from about 12 gourmet choices, serve yourself, and then step forward to the candy, cookies, fruit, hot fudge and other trimmings. Offered a plethora of sweet, crunchy, and gooey gastronomical choices you then personally build your very own creation. And, I might add, receive sticker shock at the weigh-in check-out! But, heck, that’s all part of the fun!

Here’s another thing that you must take into account, I live south of the Mason Dixon line where winters are relatively mild and this concept even works mid-February. However, I hail from north of here…Buffalo, you know the place – yes, that  place – where we ‘enjoyed’ snow the majority of the year and when it wasn’t snowing it was threatening to snow (or so it seemed!) Now this particular frozen yogurt concept wouldn’t survive on the rather abbreviated summer up north unless an owner added in other offerings (hot cocoa, lattes, etc.) to mitigate the effects of frozen tundra – ok, I exaggerate! But…hold the phone…should they? Let’s remember the concept was to afford your customers an experience, a true-hands on event…a way to express themselves creatively through food.  

While telling your customers to ‘take a hike’ or find their fix elsewhere may not make sense, there needs to be a true connect between your vision (in this case, a quaint, upscale, unique experiential yogurt shop) and theirs. If those two do not connect, don’t be offended. Just do your best to keep the clients you’ve attracted and make their moments in your shop the best, most memorable yet. Oh, and choose your location wisely…wasn’t that lesson one in all business classes…location, location, locations…but I digress.

Learn your market, stick to your vision (if you find it’s viable within the confines of your locale) listen to customers and make your customers happy so you can grow your business with the help of others who have a shared vision with your business concept.