The customer ISN’T always right…

Jan 3, 2019John's Gems

The Customer ISN’T Always Right

You should never listen to your customers.

OK, maybe not “never”…

But they’re NOT always right.

You SHOULD regularly poll your customers and solicit feedback from them on how you’re doing, and how you can make things better.

I like to do this by asking four open-ended questions:

1. What should we KEEP doing?
2. What should be START doing?
3. What should we STOP doing?
4. Is there ANYTHING else I need to know?

This usually tells me everything I need to know, what’s working, what’s not, where the fires need putting out, and where the opportunities lie.

But every now and then, you’ll get a small, vocal minority of customers who will tell you they want something.

It could be a new product or service.

It could be a change to the existing setup.

Listen to them at your peril.

When making any wholesale changes to your product or service, be sure to test the waters with a small group, then a larger group, and finally your whole customer base.

But don’t just drop it on them, like “New Coke” did back in the eighties.

We made this fatal error earlier this year.

A handful of customers were yelling and screaming that they wanted changes made to a service that had been up and running for over four years. Their ideas made logical sense, and so we rolled it out to everyone.

And everyone HATED the changes.

Sure, the four or five people who asked for it were happy enough. But the two hundred or so who were perfectly happy with the service as it was, were suddenly up in arms, and cancelling their membership in droves.

We’d thrown the baby out with the bathwater. And the rubber duck. And the little stone you use to take the dead skin off your feet.

It didn’t take us long to notice that we’d made a big FUBAR here, and quickly closed this new service, reverting to the tried and tested that people knew and loved.

When it came time to make some tweaks to the One Percent Club for our last intake, we were very careful to poll all current members first, with the open-ended questions above.

We knew what parts of the OPCC they loved, so we left those well alone.

We found out those elements that nobody cared about. And we dropped them.

We discovered what was REALLY important to our One Percenters, and designed the changes around them.

We found some fires, and we put them out.

We stumbled across some new opportunities, and we explored them.

We didn’t react to everyone’s suggestions – many wanted contrasting things, and some wanted the moon on a stick. But we did LISTEN to everyone.

If you do nothing else over this “quiet” Christmas / New Year period, just sending those four simple questions to your current customers will provide you with a treasure trove of opportunities to exploit in 2019.

ps. If you want to be part of the new improved One Percent Club in 2019, doors open in March. You can join the VIP waiting list at


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