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Which Clients Do You Want to Keep?

There is an old joke in the dental world that a patient asked his dentist, “Which teeth should I floss?” The dentist answered, “Only the ones you want to keep.” Customer Service is the same.

All customers are good customers. Okay, maybe not all. Every business has customers – or should I call them former customers – that companies choose not to do business with. But, for the purpose of this article, let’s assume you’re willing to do business with everyone who wants to do business with you.

So, as I was saying, all customers are good customers. Yet, some customers are better than others. What makes them better? They do business with us more often. They buy more. They spend more when they buy. They are easier to work with. There are many reasons.

Yet when trying to gauge a good customer by numbers, we usually look at the dollars they spend. What is your average customer worth? Now, this is important, because to determine your average customer, you need to combine all of your customers. The ones that spend a lot of money and the ones that spend a small amount of money.

Using teeth and dental care as a metaphor, which teeth would you rather keep, the front ones that help you bite, or the back ones that help you chew. Tough choice? The simple answer is, you want to keep them all. Again, same with customers.

Loyal customers tend to be more connected emotionally. Maybe they have a relationship with someone at the company. Maybe it’s the comfort of a predictable and consistent experience that they always have had and know they will get. Many things connect customers to a company beyond product and price.

Related: Clients Want the Truth, Even When the Truth Hurts

At the other end, you have your customers who may not see you very often or spend much money with you. But, they still come back every so often. They are good customers, too.

I once bought a dress shirt that was on sale from a salesman at a men’s clothing store. Realizing my purchase was small, I commented, “Maybe next time I’ll see a sport coat or suit I like.” The salesperson smiled and said, “If I had 500 customers just like you, I’d be the happiest salesperson in the store.” He went on to tell me that he likes good customers who walk out of the store happy, regardless of how much they spend, because they come back. He was right. I came back, and I bought a suit. And, I’ve been buying clothes from him ever since.

He figured it out. It wasn’t how much money I spent that first time. It was that I represented one of his customers, regardless of how much or little I bought. So, the point is to take care of all of your customers. The small ones and the big ones. Everyone, regardless of how much they spend, should feel happy, respected and appreciated.

And, by the way, be sure to floss your teeth. All your teeth!