No. 369

One day a man walked into a small grocery story just in time to hear an irate customer chewing the manager up one side and down the other. This customer was unhappy about a number of things, including poor service, and he was letting the manager know about it. The manager just stood there taking this abuse, nodding his head up and down, and agreeing with everything the customer was saying. Finally, the manager said, Youre right sir, we will try to do better in the future.
After the irate customer left, this man walked over to the manager and said, Sir, I couldnt help but overhear what that fellow said to you, and I want to compliment you on the way you handled him. The manager said, You know, I wish I had a 100 customers like him. This man said, After the way he treated you, why would you want 100 customers like him? The manager said, Heck, I got a 1000.
When Albert Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity, I bet he never dreamed that it could be applied in so many different ways. Contrary to the irate customer in this little story, most customers are nice people and they are tolerant up to a point, but they can be lost and they will take their credit cards and checkbook with them. For the benefit of customers, business owners, managers, employees and especially new people just starting out in business, I want to share some thoughts that may be helpful. What I am going to say may only be a reminder for you, but we should never forget that in the American Free-Enterprise system, The Customer Is Still King.
Keeping customers, even those who complain, is very important to the success of any business. We should strive to know if their complaints are legitimate. However, Most people dont complain. We call these people the Nice Guy. Have you ever asked yourself this question about some nice guy who used to come by? Wonder where he went? This could well be his answer and its not original with me. Im a nice customer. You all know me. Im the one who never complains no matter what kind of service I get. I never kick. I never nag. I never criticize, and I would never dream of making a scene as Ive seen people doing in public places.
I think its uncalled for. No, Im the customer. And Ill tell you what else I am. Im the customer who never comes back. If I get pushed around, I take whatever you hand out, because I know Im not coming back. Its true this doesnt relieve my feelings right off, as telling you what I think of you could, but in the long run its far more deadly than blowing my top. In fact, a nice customer like me, multiplied by others of my kind, can just about ruin a business. And there are a lot of nice people in the world, just like me. When we get pushed far enough, we go to one of your competitors.
My point is this. Why spend all that money on advertising to get new customers, if we are not going to take good care of them? If you dont already know this, here are some good reasons to keep adding new customers all the time. Of each 100 customers, 15 are lost in the 1st year..leaving 85. 13 are lost the 2nd year..leaving 72. 11 are lost the 3rd year..leaving 61. 9 are lost the 4th year..leaving 52. 8 are lost the 5th year..leaving 44. 7 are lost the 6th year..leaving 37. 6 are lost the 7th year..leaving 31. 5 are lost the 8th year..leaving 26. 4 are lost the 9th year..leaving 22. 3 are lost the 10th year..leaving 19.
Therefore, if a business never adds any new customers, at the end of 10 years it will be down to 19 of the original 100. This may be a round about way of coming back to the simple fact of how we treat the customer will go a long way in determining the success or failure of any business. Yes, in a free market economy, the Customer Is Still the King. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)