Even in today’s society, the customer is still king
by JIM DAVIDSON, Editorial Columnist
Jul 01, 2013 | 387 views | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One day a man walked into a small grocery store 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, “You’re 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 couldn’t 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 hundred customers like him.”

This man said, “After the way he treated you, why would you want a hundred customers like him?”

The manager said, “Heck, I got a thousand.”

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 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 don’t 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 it’s not original with me, “I’m a nice customer. You all know me. I’m 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 I’ve seen people doing in public places. I think it’s uncalled for. No, I’m the customer. And I’ll tell you what else I am. I’m the customer who never comes back. If I get pushed around, I take whatever you hand out because I know I’m not coming back. It’s true this doesn’t relieve my feelings right off, as telling you what I think of you could, but in the long run it’s 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 don’t 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 first year, leaving 85. Thirteen are lost the second year, leaving 72. Eleven are lost the third year, leaving 61. Nine are lost the fourth year, leaving 52. Eight are lost the fifth year, leaving 44. Seven are lost the sixth year, leaving 37. Six are lost the seventh year, leaving 31. Five are lost the eighth year, leaving 26. Four are lost the ninth year, leaving 22. Three are lost the tenth 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.

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(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. He may be contacted at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway AR 72034.)