Yes, it’s true. I do NOT want “customers” for any of my businesses. And neither should you!
According to the dictionary, a “customer” is “a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.”
You see, it says nothing about the relationship between the two parties except for the exchange of money for goods or services. Let me illustrate…
When I was a teenager my parents owned a newsagency in Brisbane, Australia. Every morning and afternoon my dad would fill up a bunch of metal boxes on legs that contained newspapers. He’d put them out on the footpath at strategic locations in his territory. “Customers” would come along, put a coin in the slot to unlock it, open the door and take their newspaper. It was convenient for both parties, but their was no interaction between the “customer” and the owner of the business.
And no loyalty either. On either side.
However, what I do want is “CLIENTS”
Under the word client the dictionary has: “a person or organization using the services of a lawyer or other professional person or company”
Think of that Lawyer-Client relationship. The client trusts the lawyer, who gives professional support and service. The provider is the protector of the client, watches out for them, helps them avoid pitfalls. Does his best to ensure a positive outcome for his client.
So my definition of client — one that I urge you to take up too — is “one who wants and gets professional support/service from me.”
Now you can see that to have a stable business we all need to turn customers into clients. The people who pay us need to know we’ve “got their back.” Whatever your business is, find a way to provide that, and let them know. When your customers become clients, they will be fiercely loyal, and they will recommend you to others.
But as well as customers, my dad had those who paid weekly for him to deliver their paper. These were his clients. When it looked like rain, my Dad used to “bag” the rolled-up newspapers before he went out on his route, throwing them from his car onto the wet lawns of his clients. His clients were delighted on a rainy morning to find their paper dry.
Yes, it cost more, and it took a LOT more time. I used to get up at 3 a.m. and work for an hour or two with him, putting those rolled papers into long plastic bags and sealing each one. And later when I was older and I sometimes did his run for him I found the slippery plastic bags made it much harder to hold the rolled newspaper firmly enough so it landed where I wanted when I tossed it. My hand ached by the end of the run. But you see, my dad was being the protector of his clients.
My dad turns 91 in two months. He still fondly remembers those clients. They mattered to him.
You may be puzzled when you have a consultation with me and discover that I charge a premium on top of the cost of citizenship by investment, but that’s one of the advantages for my clients. They don’t mind paying more than customers of other migration agents, who get little to no service, because my clients know from experience that I care about them, and I’m ready to go to bat for them.
Lance (I’ve got your back!) in Vanuatu