A Common Customer Satisfaction Mistake – No Customer Definition

I had a very important Customer Engagement Moment reinforced this morning.  We have two 9 month old Golden Retriever puppies that needed to be boarded while my family and I were gone last week on Spring Break.  This was our first time leaving them overnight and with this boarding kennel.

The owner of the kennel is a wonderful woman. Within 15 seconds of meeting her and seeing her with my dogs, I knew she was the best one to leave them with.  Her love of animals is self evident. She loves to share knowledge and information that will help with any training or behavior challenges.

Stay with me here, the point is coming. Now, while I know I tend to be a bit longwinded, I can’t hold a candle to this woman.   When she shares her knowledge, she also is the type that doesn’t leave a pause for a polite interruption to move things along.  I knew this going into the transaction and was prepared.  I soaked up all of the training tips she could pass along.

A funny thing happened toward the end of our conversation today.  She suddenly stopped and said…

“I’m so glad that you don’t mind me sharing so much with you and letting me talk.  I don’t see many humans during the day and it does me good to have conversations with folks who walk on only two legs.  I’ve had inquiries from folks who call and just want to find out how much I charge and if I have room on the days they need.  When I can sense that they want to be short and to the point, I politely inform them that I don’t think I’m the best person for them to board their dogs with.

I suppose some folks think I’m crazy for turning away some business for that reason, but it goes against my nature and if I can’t relate to the people, I don’t think I would be able to relate well to their dogs.”

I simply smiled and told her that I think she’s doing a good thing for herself and her customers by being clear who her ideal customer is.

That’s the point of this letter to you today.  Be clear about who your ideal customer is. Understand that you won’t be able to be all things to all customers.  If you try, you are guaranteed to fail.  By focusing on a clear niche or group, you’ll be able to identify and build a rapport with them that is much deeper and sustainable.

Many companies and businesses have made the mistake of trying to do all things for every potential customer.  They’ve either failed or not been nearly as successful as they might have been because they didn’t clearly understand who their customers were and how they could help best help them.

Please also discuss this point and train your teams on who your ideal customers are and how to relate to them.  Your team will feel much more ownership with their responsibilities and invested in your business.

There is nothing wrong with sending some customer elsewhere.  In fact, you’ll be respected because not only are you looking out for your own welfare, but that of those potential customers as well.  They may even turn out to be a referral source for your in the long run.  I’ve seen it happen.

Please be sure to let me know what questions you have about this point.  It’s one that always brings about a lively discussion.  I enjoy the discussion and I’m always happy to help and learn.

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