The Customer is Right. Usually.

Today Seth Godin clarifies Rule #1 by breaking it into two parts

a. the customer is always right

b. if that’s not true, it’s unlikely that this person will remain your customer.

Part b reminds us that our products should never be for everybody. Some people will always complain because feature X is missing or require uneconomic levels of service to be satisfied.

Great products are never made for everybody.

When you stuff a product full of features to address the last corner case customer or go to automated phone trees to enable you to serve the over-demanding/under-paying accidental customers, you’ve started down the losing path to making undifferentiated beige boxes of mediocrity.

It’s OK and more honest to say “no” to some customers, as long as you are nice about it. (See Comcast’s latest customer service fiasco to learn how not to do it.) It’s also OK to fire those “Part b” customers who are uneconomical to your business, as long as you are nice about it.

If I were to demand that Prada make $100 hiking boots, I’d be wrong and Prada would be right. And that’s OK, even if they tell me to take a hike.

 

 

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