Time to read: 3 minutes
Everyone should be your only customer! Always treat every customer like they are your only customer.
I actually stumbled into this over the past few months. During the first month of MTS, my latest entrepreneurial adventure, when I got my first customer; this saying came to mind. I was “smiling and dialing” to many people (I’m sure many of you were on the receiving end of my calls, emails and contacts) looking for both work for MTS; and people that I could help place in a consulting role.
A good friend and former colleague had also just started a brand new hospital management venture and was in need of some technical assistance (web development including a patient portal and bill pay feature integrated with their hospital clinical system). Another friend and former colleague was in need of some assistance with a system implementation of a new Service Management tool for their health system, ServiceNow.
Both of these prospects wanted to be our first customer! I was humbled and grateful for their willingness to believe in me and our firm to help with the critical projects at hand. Ultimately one of those prospects turned into a customer a few weeks before the other. However, that 4-6 week process to get engaged and started with both customers provided me the thought that we should always treat every customer as if they are your only customer.
This is easy to grasp when you are a startup with NO customers (it is scary!). However, as companies grow, we’ve likely all witnessed a mindset that drifts from this mentality.
I realized when companies get very large, there are all sorts of analyses of customer profitability. I've sat through countless meetings looking at potential and current customers being questioned as to whether or not we want them (Is the margin high enough? Are they ‘strategic’? Etc.).
This should not be interpreted to mean you should keep all customers at all costs however, this means that whenever you have time with the customer, treat them with the respect and attention you would give them if they were your only shot, don’t grovel, but be accomodating and truly care for the success of both yourself and your customer.
I must say that many of these questions and analyses give me an absolute “tired head”. If we treat every customer as if they were our only customer and keep this in mind, we should have fantastic scores on customer satisfaction and NPS surveys. In addition, we will have a trusted business relationship with our customers as partners. Ultimately, we will have a growing business, satisfied customers and an engaged staff committed to the growth and success of the company.
So next time you’re dealing with a customer, at any level, treat them as your only customer. With luck, they’ll be back soon.