Friday, February 16, 2007

Are all cutomers created the same?

I've just completed our marketing plan for 2007 and presented it to our sales team. These things are always a bit tricky, until you've finished you never really know how they'll go. This went OK, a few blank looks but most people got the idea and took it on board.

In simple terms I segmented the database of customers based on spend and frequency. Pretty basic stuff.

One question stuck out though.

"Shouldn't we treat all our customers the same, though?" one of the sales team asked.

She had a point of sorts.

Yes we should treat all our customers as friends and be as courteous and helpful as possible. After all without customers we have no business.

But, not all customers are created the same. Some are worth a lot to the company and some aren't. The value of our service varies wildly from orders of £6 right up to orders in the millions or pounds. This is great because we've worked out how to work in the long tail.

But to achieve this we've automated our services. If you have a small order then you can pay online, you still get the same professional delivering the service but we have less admin and we make a decent profit. The customers are happy because they got what the wanted and we're happy we supplied it at a decent profit.

Were some people get stuck, is that they have been brain washed about customer service, which is great, but they forget to put that into perspective. They are quite happy to spend an hour with a customer with a job for £40, and basically oversell the service.

How would you feel if every time you ordered a Big Mac the counter staff went into a depth about how they made the burger, the bun the sauce, what McDonald's over all strategy was on everything in the world? You'd just say, "give the burger!"

Not all customers are the same, sorry. Some are worth more, it's capitalism.

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