It is not another way of saying ‘the customer is always right’. In fact, to someone who actively practices Customer for Life, ‘the customer is always right’ is a nonsensical statement.
It is not a variation on the Golden Rule. Customer for Life assumes from the outset that we treat each other decently and, if we don’t, that we’ve probably self-excluded ourselves from most meaningful human contact, anyway.
Customer for Life is not “brown-nosing”. You will not tell the customer (or your boss) what they want to hear, paint a rosy picture, oversell, promise anyone the moon and stars, or make lemonade out of lemons. You don’t have to give away the store, your right arm, blood from a stone, or your firstborn child. Your goal is not to make the customer your best friend, exchange trinkets for treasure, or become an external resource. You will be able to look yourself in the mirror without feeling any sense of self-betrayal.
Customer for Life can be described as an approach to social interaction that is transaction-based. Because of this, it is particularly well-suited to organizations that are structured according to a hierarchy. (This can mean your business, your customers' businesses, governments, religious and military organizations, and on and on.) Like a meme, it is distributed virally.
Now here’s what that really means:
- Everyone you come in contact with is a Customer – including coworkers, boss, family members, the person who cut you off on the way to work. Even the telemarketer who called you in the middle of dinner.
- Your sense of well-being and happiness are dependent upon these Customers.
- All of these Customers can help you reach your goals or prevent you from reaching them, be steps up the ladder or obstacles.
Our job is to learn enough about our Customer, their business, their job, and their personal needs to present them with sound advice about how to make the best use of our products and/or services – and about which ones will or will not help solve their problems.
If you practice Customer for Life, every Customer – internal or external - is treated exactly the same: professionally, personally, perfectly. That means co-workers, vendors, your children, significant other, business partners, your mail carrier, and the Customer who makes you the least money.
Here are the fringe benefits of Customer for Life:
- It wins us converts from our competitors.
- It increases Customer retention.
- It increases how much each Customer spends with us.
- By helping Customers feed their needs and achieve their goals, they are more likely to help us do the same.
Because it’s the right thing to do.