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2 Unusual Secrets To Happy Customers And A Healthy Business

Don’t be afraid to take action if a customer is holding you back
by Sarah Moriarty | May 4 2015

Here’s an argument for why you should cut ties with problem customers, and what you can do to keep the ones who are loyal.


As a business owner, you naturally love your customers – that is, all of them except that one bad apple who seems to be leading a grand mission to take you down. You plan and stress and lose sleep over the bad apple’s demands, and you even consider changing your policies for them. But here’s the truth: you should quit that relationship while you’re ahead.

“The customer is always right!” is a common expression you’ve heard many times over, and most often, it serves as a great mantra for conducting daily business operations. However, as Noah Fleming writes in Evergreen, all customers aren’t always right all the time. At some point, it becomes your responsibility to cut ties with the customer who is bringing you down.

Fire your problem customers

Let’s say you have a customer who just can’t see you in a good light, ever. You pour in your resources to no avail – you always get the same insatiable attitude thrown back at you, and you’re losing money with every time-consuming interaction. Why bother anymore? Fire that customer.

Look at Amazon, for instance. They remove accounts from customers who return most of the items they order. Those customers receive a notice about their dropped status and have the opportunity to contest it. In other words, they have to prove their loyalty once again.

Even Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos – a company known far and wide for its outstanding customer service – believes that customer relationships should end when they reach a certain point. When people are insatiable or abusive to staff, they get the boot.

Charge your good customers for loyalty programs

For every problem customer there are 10 great ones, so make sure to reinforce those bonds of loyalty with exciting and useful perks. Instead of giving out free rewards cards that will only sit dormant in wallets for months, consider charging your customers for membership in a loyalty program that actually matters.

Fleming mentions a successful example from a restaurant he worked with in the past. The restaurant launched The Mug Club specifically for beer aficionados. For a $79 annual fee, a member of the club gets her own brass plaque at the bar, a special beer glass, and an extra four ounces of beer at every pour in the future. The club was a great success, because who doesn’t want extra beer, engraved recognition, and that special feeling of inclusion?

Amazon has this base covered, too. The $11-per-month Amazon Prime has been wildly successful, as over 50 million people worldwide are taking advantage of free 2-day shipping, full access to the Kindle library, and more perks from the retail giant. Next time you’re snooping on Amazon, check out Prime’s enticing offers. Your business can follow suit.

It might help to look at customer loyalty as a relationship with equal involvement from both business and customer. By rethinking the dynamics of this relationship, you’ll be able to construct loyalty programs that benefit everyone.

Find out more in Evergreen, or get all the key insights in 16 minutes for free on Blinkist.

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