Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why Put the Customer First?

I’m a customer-first person. I believe that when marketers put their own needs ahead of those of their customers, they lose in a big way. They may make the one-off sale, but they sacrifice the opportunity to turn a single transaction into a relationship.

Are you a customer-first person?

One customer-first marketer is Toronto real-estate agent Farrell Macdonald, who gives an example in his most recent newsletter. In September 2008, he helped a couple buy a condo. A few months ago, they called Macdonald again to explore “trading up” to a town home.

Macdonald writes: “I quickly did up a calculation showing them what they could expect to net from their current place and what they would have to pay for a larger property - including the land transfer tax and other closing costs. It was apparent that their plans to trade up were a little premature. Although disappointed, they thanked me for setting them straight.”

In other words, Macdonald helped his clients realize their best move was not to move just now. By spending time helping them understand the market, Macdonald forfeited a deal that could have earned him a healthy fee.

That’s customer-first.

In a perfect world, this deal would only be deferred, not lost. Theoretically, after proving his objectivity and professionalism, Macdonald should get the business next time, and possibly every time this couple moves. That’s the power of building trust through customer-first service.

The real world doesn't always work that way. People lose touch, people forget, someone else might come along and lure those customers away. But in the long run, this is the only way to go.

Are you prepared to lose a deal in order to serve the customer?

No comments: