Hi, it’s Dave here. Thanks for visiting the blog. I’d love to talk with you directly, but I’m with a “customer.” Or I’m on Twitter (@Area224).
Sometimes, a little mindset is all you need. Changing the way you think about one little term can make a big difference in how you – and your business – treats people.
So, when’s the last time you spoke with a “Customer?”
A little background for ya: back in the day, we had a client that was (and still is) a small college with a small, under-performing athletic program. They got better, over time, but needed a mindset change.
When you walked into the Athletic Department offices, you didn’t get warm fuzzies. Quite the opposite.
He’s With a “Student-Athlete”
There was the subtle, but really important change that started to turn things around. It’s not spin, it’s not BS: the fact was that, if someone was otherwise occupied – say, the Athletic Director was in a meeting and his phone rang – the required response was not “He’s Busy,” or even “he’s with a student.”
“He’s With a ‘Student-Athlete.'”
Making that same sort of distinction with the people you work for is pretty important, too.
“Client” – not “Customer”
To be blunt: a customer walks into a store, buys something, and walks out – not returning until they need something again. If ever.
A customer visits your website and thinks about making a purchase. And so on, and so forth.
If you’re a plumber – you have clients.
If you’re selling something – you have clients.
If you provide a service – you have clients.
Brass Tacks here people: I walked into my local chain Sporting Goods store recently and, frankly, I felt like a customer. Not a client. Frequent shopper card? Didn’t make me feel like a client – I felt like a number. Talking to the people working there? Well, again, I didn’t feel like a client – I felt like a customer.
My plumber? “Dave, here’s what I’d advise, because, as much as I like you, I don’t want you to have to keep paying me to come back every month.”
So he gave me a tip that saved me a few hundred dollars.
Guess who I’m using next time?
Customer is demeaning, and connotes a one-and-done purchase. Client: long-term relationship.
Go with “client.”