Are there some customers you just wish you never had to deal with again? Do you continually ask yourself why you can’t have more customers like Mr. X? Then take action today.
- Make a list of all your customers.
- Next determine what their lifetime value is to you.
- Give each a score for how pleasant they are to deal with (high score for delightful), how often they complain about nothing (low score for regular whingers), how much they haggle about price (low score for hagglers).
- Keep going for all the other things that you like or dislike about your customers.
- Then combine this into a single like-ability score, say out of 10 or 100.
Plot a chart of Lifetime value against the score. Then look at the ones in the top right hand corner, these are your A-grade customers. Write them a letter telling them that you appreciate their relationship, that you enjoy working with them and will always strive to do the best for them.
Next ask yourself how can you find more clients like these. Look at your marketing plans and modify them to find more A-grade clients. You might even ask your current A-grade clients if they know anyone to whom you could offer a similar service. Also, do your current marketing channels bring in primarily A-grade clients? If not, then how could they be modified to do so?
Send the ones in the bottom left hand corner (D-Grade clients) a letter suggesting that it might be time for a ‘new approach’. State your commitment to service and explain how important their participation is in the relationship. If there is no change after a couple of more contacts, you might refer them to your competition, i.e. sack them by writing them a pleasant letter suggesting they take their business elsewhere.
Many business owners balk at the idea of sacking customers. But the D-grade customers often result in lower profit margins (haggling and time/money spent dealing with trivial complaints), lower sales (bad-mouthing you without cause, or with exaggeration, to friends/colleagues) and more stress. So why put up with them? Focus your energy on A-grade customers and build a stronger business.