Are all Your Customers Created Equal?
“The customer is always right.”
“We have to take care of the customer no matter what.”
“The customer focused business is a successful business.”
We’ve all heard or probably said those things.
Have you ever had a customer that you were always happy to see and were happy to see you? Your transactions always went well, were profitable and they never complained about price, paid on time or early and generally were a pleasure to work with. You probably found yourself looking for ways to make them even happier, right? This was why you started this business, right?
Then there’s the customer that complains about everything, never happy, never satisfied, complains about the price, demands discounts, pays late, and is overly demanding. Everything is a crisis and is never his fault. Your stomach tightens and you can feel the perspiration on your forehead the moment you see his number on the caller ID. It shouldn’t be this hard. It would be great if you didn’t have to deal with this customer but sales are sales and you just have to put up with it.
Wouldn’t it be great if all customers were like our best customer? How great would it be to only have to deal with the great customers? Well, maybe it’s time to fire some of those pain-in-the-neck customers and, believe me, this will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. We as business owners only think about that next customer, that next sale. If we take a deeper look, we may see that all customers are not created equally and, more importantly, some customers are not worth having.
We’ve all heard of the Pareto Principle, that 80% of our revenue usually comes from 20% of our customers. What if there was a way to use the Pareto Principle to really concentrate on your best customers, meet their needs efficiently and have plenty of time to think of ways to make their experience with you better. What if you could forget about all those other customers that are constantly complaining and demanding this or that taking up far too much of your time. There is – fire those customers!
So how do you know which are the best customers to get rid of?
Try these steps to identify customers you may want to fire:
1. Copy your customer list down the first column on an Excel spreadsheet.
2. Across the top columns, list all the attributes of a great customer: profit generator, pays on time or early, orders regularly, etc.
3. In each attribute, rate the customer from 1 – 5 with 1 being worst and 5 being best. After the last column sum the row to get that customer’s score. You can then use the sort function to sort your list from best to worst by using the sum column.
Now that you’ve objectively identified your problem customers, you have to come up with a plan. Here are some strategies to think about:
Fix what you can fix. Review each problem customer and think about all the things that cause you pain. Are there ways that this customer can be saved? What can be done to eliminate the problems? Maybe there are solutions that can be used to save the relationship.
Be honest. You don’t want your customer bad mouthing you to other potential customers so you need to be very sensitive as you explain your decision. Tell the customer that you have worked hard to service their needs but feel they would be a better fit elsewhere. Refer them to a competitor and make the introduction for them. Follow up to make sure that the transition went well.
Don’t look back. You’ll miss the lost revenue at first but the extra time will allow you to focus on maximizing sales from your remaining customers. The most likely outcome will be a drop in sales but usually your gross profit will hold steady.
Look in the mirror. If you seem to continually attract the customer from hell, perhaps the problem is you. Maybe your marketing is not targeting your ideal customer. If you did the customer analysis you should know who your ideal customer is now. Test different marketing tactics to attract only that customer.
Center Director, Louisville SBDC
Contact Information502-574-1378 | email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In anticipation of the many business opportunities that could stem from the construction of a new federal prison in Roxana, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, in partnership with Letcher County Fiscal Court, is sponsoring When Opportunity Knocks, a luncheon and resource fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT June 22 at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg.
During lunch, local business owners will share how they answered the knock of opportunity and found success. The event is free and seating is limited; preregistration is required. Reservations can be made online at http://tinyurl.com/j9rdjtf .
At the event, organizers will discuss a three-part series of training events. Series topics will include general business and government contracting. The first event will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Training will also take place at 6 p.m. July 26 and August 9. Prior to each training event, a resource fair will begin at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit http://www.ksbdc.org/moving-forward-letcher-county or email Shawn Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org .
KSBDC, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
Other partners include: Kentucky Small Business Development Centers at Pikeville and Ashland, Southeast Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Kentucky Innovation Network – Pikeville , Kentucky River Area Development District, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises Inc. and Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet – Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification.
LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 3, 2016) - Kentucky’s finest small businesses and the small-business community were celebrated in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort during Kentucky Celebrates Small Business, an awards ceremony presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Kentucky District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration May 3.
Gov. Matt Bevin opened the awards ceremony by signing a proclamation recognizing National Small Business Week in the state.
"The vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the commonwealth is a fundamental force driving Kentucky's economy and creating valuable jobs for our communities," Bevin said. "I understand, from personal experience, the sacrifice it takes for small business owners to survive. Every day they strive anew to secure a better life for their customers, their employees, their families and themselves. I am grateful to these men and women across Kentucky for taking the risk necessary to succeed."
WLEX-18 chief meteorologist Bill Meck served as emcee, along with his wife, Connie, whose small business, Sign Language Network of Kentucky, provided sign language interpretation for the event.
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center presented Kentucky Pacesetter awards to six businesses. Winners were chosen based on how they are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.
This year’s outstanding Kentucky Pacesetters are D&D Shoe Company, Mayfield; Ingram Brothers, LLC, Morgantown; JSB Industrial Solutions, Inc., Tollesboro; Maynard Studios, Inc., Lawrenceburg; Trunnell’s Farm Market & Family Fun Acre, Utica; Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville.
“We owe so much to the small businesses across the commonwealth that make our economy strong and diverse. It is a pleasure to recognize them and say thank you,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director.
Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards across the country. The Small Business Person of the Year winner from each state will be acknowledged at both regional and national levels.
The 2016 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:
Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year: David Dafoe, founder and CEO of Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville
Kentucky Southeast Region 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Kathy Mills, president and CEO of Strategic Communications, Louisville
Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Bill Fensterer, president and CEO of Capital Access Corporation, Louisville
Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Harsha Wijesiri, president of Integrated Engineering, LLC, Lexington
Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Scott Matheny, president of Semper Tek, Lexington
Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Desiree Sloan Harmon, founder and owner of Club Fit Studio, LLC, Paintsville
“The creative genius that drives our commonwealth forward lives in the minds of our entrepreneurs. This year we are honoring entrepreneurs from the far corners of Kentucky. We are deeply grateful for what they have done to sustain the economic vitality of large and small communities,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We are also grateful for our local, state and federal partners who work with us to help these entrepreneurs along their way.”
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104
UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.