Growth5 Blog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How Many Customers Do You Need?

Somebody once asked a country doctor how he decided what to charge for delivering a baby.

"Well," he said, "when I go into the waiting room after the birth, if the father asks 'Is it a boy or a girl?', I charge him $2,000. But if he asks 'How's my wife?', I only charge him $500."

Similarly, when I ask my clients "How many customers do you need?", I know I am in for an expensive engagement if they answer "As many as possible."

After many years of working with professional and financial services firms, one Golden Truth stands out: too many customers is just as bad as too few. The reason is that it's very hard to provide great service to too many customers.

So one of the grim ironies of these troubled times is that too many of us focus on getting more clients rather than paying more attention to the ones we have. Brokers are notorious for hiding from clients in bad times, because they fear the complaints. One knee-jerk reaction from many houses is to cancel client-focused events -- to save money. Another is to cut client service staff, thereby guaranteeing poorer service.

Now is the best time to build great client relationships. Focus on quality, not quantity.

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