It was summer 2012 and our conversation started like this, “My wife had an account with you. She died 7-months ago and was the big Netflix user. I haven’t watched a single movie since she passed. I need to cancel her membership. Can you help me?” I had low expectations based on my typical customer experience. I was hoping for the cancellation of my draft within 30-days without having to produce a stack of legal documents validating my request. What she did next demonstrated a company culture that embraces the 1% rule and harnesses its power for customer engagement.
“Mr. Schlentz, let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. Here’s what I’m going to do: your membership will be cancelled today. I’m also going to provide a refund for the last seven months. You’ll see that credit posted to your card within 48-hours.” I sat silent for a moment. This representative blew me away. The total cost to Netflix was $55.65. The experience was priceless for me.
Here’s how the rule works: 1% of your customers are thieves, liars, and cheats. They’ll steal whatever they can from your business. They’re better at taking than you are at keeping. Here’s the key. They can never steal or lie enough to hurt your business—ever. The other 99% of your customer are honest, trustworthy, hard working people. They are willing to pay a fair price for your product/service. They want to be loyal buyers and establish an ongoing business relationship with you.
It’s a poor business decision to focus precious time and attention on the 1%. Your policies will reflect a belief that buyers are thieves. Employees will treat your customers as liars. Good clients will be forced to your competition. You’ll spend more time brooding over the 1% who took from you instead of loving the 99% who want to give you money and refer their friends (perhaps even write a blog about you).
I understand how bad it hurts that 1% of your customers are no good. Resist giving them power over you. Let them go (emotionally, intellectually, and physically). Concentrate your energy, policies, and resources on the 99% of your customers who have the biggest impact on your growth and profitability. Welcome them. Believe them. Serve them. Honor them. Make it easy for them. If you do that, they’ll willingly give you money and tell the world about you. Isn’t that why you got into business in the first place?
Leave your comments: How does your company engage customers and treat them as honored guests?