THE BLIND MILKMAN?
Why bother with a one quart a week customer?
Do you value "every" customer?
In David J. Schwartz’s timeless book, The Magic of Thinking Big, he teaches a principle of seeing things as they "can be". There are several examples in this book, but one that stood out to me was the story of “The Blind Milkman.”
Back in the days when milk was delivered to our doorstep, a young milkman came to the author’s door soliciting new customers. When the author told him he already had a delivery service and was very happy with them, he suggested that he go next door and ask his neighbor.
The young man said, “I’ve already talked to the lady next door, but they only use one quart of milk every two days, and that would not be enough to make it worthwhile to stop.” The author replied, “That may be, but when you talked to our neighbor, did you not observe that the demand for milk in that household will increase considerably in a month or so? There will be a new addition over there who will consume a lot of milk.” The young man paused for a moment like he had been struck and said, “How blind can a guy be?” The story goes on to say that several more children were born into that household and milk consumption only kept going up over the years.
I spent most of my life in retail, and I saw similar thinking all around me. Clerks and even managers who would argue and haggle over a few cents, only to embarrass or enrage a customer. Later in my career I was privy to some pretty interesting facts. At that time, it was estimated that our loyal customers spent an average of $5000.00 a year for their groceries at our store. What was more interesting was that those same loyal 5K a year customers only spent in the neighborhood of half of their spending on groceries at our particular location. Most of them actually cross shopped for the remainder of their needs. Now think about it. What if that customer decided to spend all of their money at a friendlier place where all of the employees were empowered to make every transaction right for the customer? A place where their questions, feedback, and concerns could be handled in a way that made them feel valued and actually helped the store team become better?
During those years I learned it takes an average of ten positive shopping experiences to overcome a bad one, that is if you even get the chance to. Steven Covey teaches a principle we all need to remember, “Keep the end in mind.” What if your business had a turnover rate of 1-2 customers or volunteers a month? Do a little math. What would that mean to your bottom line? It would mean a lot to you, but it would also mean a lot to the people you lead if they understood the future consequence. Their future is at stake too, so how important is it to inform them, to train, and empower them? Would they think beyond the moment when they were faced with a confused or angry customer?
How many customers do you think might already be gone with no direct explanation to you? I promise you, there is an explanation happening, but it usually happening to friends and family, all of whom are forming an opinion about you and your organization. Then, those same "informed" customers are just one offense -bad interaction- away from leaving too. Why? They are on the lookout for bad customer service or interaction from certain people in your organization.
But, what if you had an organization that truly valued “every” customer, even the new one looking for a bargain? What impression would that customer have if his or her $1.98 purchase was appreciated as much as the $100.00 purchase? Do you think that new customer might consider you as their go to place to spend their $5000.00 a year from now on?
It’s pretty simple, look at every customer as a valued customer, and turn that one quart of milk into gallons. Turn that customer buying his or her lunch today into a future loyal customer. This doesn’t just apply to business. It applies to any organization that deals with people, organizations that need people. We go to places we are welcomed and wanted and avoid places we are not. Think BIG! Look for the value in people and add value to them. You will never go wrong! Determine what you will value and live it out everyday.
"What you have not valued is something you are doing without." Mike Murdock
Dave Beavers-Slaying the Giants of Ineffective Leadership!