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Today’s post comes courtesy of Brian Johnson, COO of Strategic Profits, golf enthusiast and single-digit handicapper.
So when is it ok to piss-off your customers?
I can hear all of you now; “What do you mean? the customer is King!” or “The customer is always right”. Well, I have an answer for that in a moment.
As I am writing this, I am sitting in the Phoenix airport just a day after playing golf at the TPC (Tournament Players Club) in Scottsdale Arizona. And, I am reflecting on a run-in I had with staff there while I was playing…
Before I start, understand that this is a course that any great golfer would love to play. They sometimes charge over $350.00 per round to play and it is part of the club that the PGA professional golfers own. In fact, this is one of the PGA tour stops (Tiger Woods had a hole-in-one here a few years ago).
So, picture this; for weeks now I have been all excited to fly out here to play this course. I have been talking to everyone about going. I get here, check into the hotel, pay hundreds of dollars for my cart and greens fee, buy my TPC hat and all proud to wear it, buy brand new fresh balls new glove, get some drinks, head to the driving range, meet my friends that I am playing with, and get all jacked up to tee off in 15 minutes. AAAHHHHHHH
“We now invite Mr. Brian Johnson and guests to the first tee”… comes over the loud speakers while we are getting warmed up on the driving range. All excited I say “let’s go guys, time to have some fun” We jump on the carts and speed up to the first tee where the starter is awaiting for us. He greets us and gives us some background on the day and welcomes us to the first tee. Things are great. The weather is beautiful. I am hanging with good friends, and we shake hands and say have a good time guys. The day begins.
Jon Walker tees off and puts it in the middle, Aaron from InfusionSoft hits a great one in the faraway and I put one on the left side. And we are off…
We get no further than the third tee where we were met by a ranger waiting for us. In a militant voice he says; “OK guys, you need to move it along, there are two holes in front of you and you have to rush through and catch up.”
WOW. What the heck just happened?
I was no longer excited, and the guests I was with were just as mystified as I was. The day was going well so I simply responded with an friendly; “OK, no problem” and we do our best to keep things going.
As a side note, we are all avid golfers and no slouches. We were only a 3-some and playing at a pretty quick speed. If you know golf, you know that you want to be courteous to people behind you and not hold them up. However there was not anyone behind us, we were not holding anyone up AND there was space in-between the group in front of us when we started to play in the first place.
It was just their “rule” that you should play at the speed that they (the non customer) feels you should play. It’s a lot like going to a fine restaurant and placing your order. Then they bring your appetizers and then immediately 5 minutes later bring you the main course. Then 5 minutes later come to you and say “Listen you can’t be here all night and we need the table for someone else, you should be able to eat in 15 minutes” How irate would you be?
Fast forward to two holes later. We now have gone through each hole putting without even taking the flag stick out of the hole, did not get a drink when the snack cart came around so we could try to catch up (which during summer in Arizona is not the best idea), ran back and forth to the cart and made up some time while we DID NOT enjoy the golf.
So we get to the tee at the 6th hole and the same ranger is there and says “let’s go guys, you need to hustle” at which point I was at a boiling point and said to him “Listen, we are not holding anyone up, no one has complained about us and there was already space between us when we started” His response was; “If you don’t like it you will be missing golf and I will move you into position where I think you should be”.
My response (in a manner that is unlike my collected self) was “@%#! THIS!” I just spent hundreds of dollars to play here, traveled across the country and have been looking forward to this for a while. Needless to say, I did not enjoy any more of the day and my opinion of the place went in the tank. I can’t even remember most of the golf I played. I felt violated, ripped off, scorned, and totally deflated. The guests I was with were even more upset than I was.
This Ranger does not know me at all, my golf experience or golf etiquette and still he is dismissing me? That’s crazy and customers should never be treated like that.
Ok, on the flip side I put my business founder hat on. I am thinking that they do this with the intention of taking care of all customers and not just one. Should they piss off one client in the spirit of keeping the other clients happy? Keep in mind we were NOT a hindrance to anyone and the Ranger was “Just following the rules put in place for all customers.” You have to have some rules or policies in place to handle situations where some clients will hurt others.
I can say that even here at Strategic Profits I am very protective of our company and anyone trying to take advantage (in my view) will have a hard time with me. Notice I said “in my view?” The client might not feel that way. But if I break the rules for one client it might snowball into many clients and now I have hurt the company as a whole, which in turn hurts all clients.
So the big question is; if the customer is always right… are they always right for YOUR company? This is a question that Spike Humer at Jay Abraham’s office brought up to me when I was telling him this story, and one that I want you to think about today.
It’s truly an interesting dilemma that company owners and founders need to deal with on a consistent basis. What you do, how you handle or not handle or how effective you resolve issues like this can make or break the company you founded.
I am interested in hearing what you would do if you were the owner, manager or founder of this golf club. Please post a comment and let me know. I will tell you what we would have done after we hear from you. Also, I look forward to us helping you with more of these types of issues so that you can avoid costly pitfalls in your company’s future success.
Post a comment, and let us know how YOU feel about this.
To Higher Profits,
This past Sunday morning, Debi and I piled the girls in the car and drove to Wellington, 40 miles north, to have brunch with some old friends from New York.
We took the Maserati and raced up I-95. It’s a great car (Ferrari engine) and interior straight out of Architectural Digest.
The stereo was cranking out everyone’s favorite tunes–Miley Cyrus (for Elle), Jonas Brothers (for Ava), & Allman Brothers (for me + Debi). Everyone was taking turns singing solos, and we were having a blast.
We reached the restaurant, Johnny G’s, and Debi tried to parallel park in a tight spot while I was belting out my own rendition of the Allman’s “Crazy Love.”
Her first attempt was…how should I put it…was off a bit (ok, maybe off a LOT).
So Debi decided she needed to concentrate on the task at hand. I was told in no uncertain terms to “shut-up”, the radio was muted, and there was absolute silence.
She came in for her second attempt…and NAILED IT! In fact, it was a better job than yours truly has ever done.
And, that my friend, is where today’s entrepreneurial lesson is hidden.
You see, there are four stages of learning:
Stage (1) – Unconscious Incompetence – you don’t know what you don’t know
Stage (2) – Conscious Incompetence – you now know what you don’t know
Stage (3) – Conscious Competence – you now know it, but you have to
concentrate to use what you know
Stage (4) – Unconscious Competence – you know it, and you can do it without
thinking about it
Let’s take learning the alphabet as an example….
There was a time you didn’t even know what the alphabet was or that it had twenty six letters (stage 1).
Next, you were told about the alphabet and you realized you didn’t know it (stage 2).
Then you learned the alphabet, but you really had to concentrate to draw each letter and not confuse a “b” with “d” (stage 3).
And now–hopefully–you can write words, sentences, and even pages without thinking about the letters themselves (stage 4).
So, back to Debi for a sec….
Debi is unconsciously competent (stage 4) when it comes to driving. BUT she’s only consciously competent (stage 3) when it comes to parallel parking. And you know what? For driving and parking that’s good enough.
“So, where’s the lesson in that?” you ask.
Easy there, Chachi, I’m getting to it – first, let me ask you a question:
Are you unconsciously competent (stage 4) at your money making activities?
For example – can you write an optimized blog post without having to think about keywords and their placement? Or an email with an effective hook, and a compelling call to action?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs and marketers, odds are you can’t – and it costs you more than you realize. And here’s why…
When you are only consciously competent (stage 3):
(1) You’re more prone to make a mistake
(2) You’re forced doing it slowly – meaning you also make money slowly
(3) You can only do it in certain places (with your reference material) at certain times (when you can concentrate), so you don’t make money as often
as you could
(4) You never achieve mastery so you’ll quickly fall back into conscious incompetence if you take a few days off.
This is important. Come closer. Listen…
The biggest leap in income happens when an entrepreneur becomes unconsciously competent (stage 4) in their money making activities.
Because it’s easier. And they can do it faster and more often, with better success. In essence, they spend their time doing instead of fumbling.
And, guess what? This Thursday I’m going to show you how to take every money making skill you need to master and make you unconsciously competent.
I’m talking about taking your skills to such a high level of mastery – you could do them half-asleep!
Vault To Stage 4
Imagine the leap of income you’ll have when skills you need are hardwired into your brain like that. When getting JV partners is a snap, writing copy a breeze, and growing your business becomes the healthiest habit you possess.
Vault To Stage 4
I can’t promise to make you a better driver or a parallel parking expert. But I can promise you’ll be doing a lot more “driving” to the bank and “parking” in front of the drive thru window as you make bigger (and more frequent) deposits.
To Higher Profits,
PS -Whether you run an online business or dream of building one, there is no skill more important than this: The ability to quickly absorb and apply new tactics, then turn into habits.
This is one of the secrets to growing your business, and it’s a common trait of all the gurus I’ve coached. And now I am sharing these very same techniques with you.
Seize the chance to make growing your business a snap.
Vault To Stage 4
P.P.S Do you agree with me on the 4 stages? Disagree? Have an example of your own to pass along?
Let us know about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Here’s a concept that can make you a TON of money.
It’s called visitor value.
Now, you’ve PROBABLY heard of visitor value before.
But I want to explain why you’re probably not paying as much attention to it as you should.
As you know, I’m a big fan of metrics. I think it’s important to measure and improve everything you do.
Even if you don’t measure everything all the time, it’s good to establish benchmarks to see how well things are performing in your business.
Back to visitor value.
The reason visitor value is so important is that it gives you a bottom line figure that you can use to
measure the effectiveness of your business. But wait, there’s more!
By focusing on increasing your visitor value, you’ll be improving all aspects of your business.
You’ll have to offer better products, that in turn deserve higher price points.
You’ll have to write better sales copy to increase conversion of visitors into buyers.
You’ll have to offer up-sells and cross-sells to drive up visitor value even higher.
And what happens when you start doing these things?
You start acting like a real business.
While you may think visitor value is just a number, there’s much more behind it. Multiple dimensions of profit can be discovered if you know how to analyze this critical metric.
We’ve only touched the surface of visitor value, so if you’re not currently tracking it, then you should figure out how, as soon as possible.
And if you are tracking visitor value, then make a list with 20 ideas on how you can increase it, then
pick the top three and start implementing them immediately.
To Higher Profits,
P.S. A lot of people are asking how to get into my coaching programs. But the short answer is there are no open spots at this time. I’ll be making a few structural changes (to accomodate for my newer, more powerful material) and when I’m ready, I’ll open the doors again. So stay tuned, but until then, I suggest you take a look at your visitor value!
Yesterday my group coaching call centered on customer lifecycles and how to use customer behavior metrics such as latency, frequency, recency, and monetary value to conduct predictive modeling.
The concept here is that the best way to predict a customer’s future behavior is by their current behavior, especially when their behavior can be compared to the aggregate former customer so you can take preventive action and bring them back into your business.
On the flip side, you can also know in advance when a customer is displaying hyper-responsive tendencies so you can make sure that you put offers in front of this customer fast enough so they don’t go somewhere else to quench their thirst for whatever it is you’re selling.
But the question in the title to this entry is an important one, yet sadly, it’s a question 99% of small business owners never even consider.
To make matters worse most small business owners don’t really understand that their customer list is perishable and that without putting future offers in front of their customer lists they become an accomplice in degrading their business’s #1 asset.
If you’ve never considered the above question then you are currently practicing "The Ostrich Theory of Customer Marketing."
This is where you operate under the false assumption that your customers are customers for life – unless they specifically tell you they are no longer interested in buying from you.
Just to be clear… Every person who ever bought from you is not the definition of a customer.
So, take a look inside your business and get come clarity about your customer life cycle. Then take it even further and define the latencies between each desired customer action.
Lastly, from now on when customers deviate from the customer life cycle don’t stick your head in the sand; create an irrefutable offer that lures the customer back.