Yes Customer is KING but a king can become Tyrannical

Do you keep up with tyranny?

Few years ago when we started one of our businesses, it had a very slow start with three team members and a handful of customers. At that time, we could hardly meet our monthly expenses.  I understood the dynamics as I was ready for the business, So, from one customer we reached ten customers daily in less than two months Today we have far exceeded that.

There was this particular customer who was very consistent. Anytime he comes, he wants to have his way and demands for discount, which was a tough one for us as the cost didn’t get exactly give room for that, but we had to do it because we didn’t want to lose him. Overtime,  this became consistent and he went about telling others about the kind of discount he gets from us.So all the clients that came through him would demand the same discount, even though we told him that that pricing was just for him.

It became clear that the guy was spoiling business for us and spreading it wide. My colleague told me then that she would no longer listen to the man’s demands again, saying that  the man should rather go if he was not ready to be treated as a regular customer. So that faithful day I decided to listen in to the conversation instead of showing up. My colleague insisted and told him, ’no, we can’t grant that demand anymore’, The man was so furious and demanded to see me. Even though I was pressed to say ‘oya just grant it’, my spirit just told me to calm down, that a customer is KING but one tyrant king can influence other kings to spoil your treasures. So I never went out from my office, I stayed back and the man ended up paying the correct price. He threatened not to deal with us anymore and that  he would tell his comrades same. We never bordered, even though I was really concerned about losing a top customer who had so much influence on a number of customers. However  that event birthed innovative ideas to recruit new clients. We executed some novel ideas and got more than 30 new clients the following week.

We also had another customer, who had worked with a commercial bank in the past, doing so well. She claimed she understood the business, and terrorised me and my CMO then. Anytime this woman called me I knew there was an issue, and the issue was always based on how it’s done when she was in the bank. She often said she can call someone in the CBN bla la bla, and most times I would be wondering, ‘on top what na?’( local slang in Nigeria), My colleague who joined us also worked with the same organisation before joining us.

Even with visits and apologies the woman would still be screaming. We simulated what the issues were, we sat with her and realised she really didn’t understand some things. yet this woman insisted when we started that she understood the business and does not need our training, even though it was free. After several months of managing her, we realised she was becoming more toxic to us than we could handle, as she influenced other customers to start complaining for no reason. We just had to let her go, even though she was a major customer then. After she left, we recruited more customers who filled the position she occupied.

Sometimes a particular customer can keep you from innovation and you would neglect other opportunities staring you in the face. You have to let such customers go, so you can see other customers waiting for you.

Your customer is KING, but you can’t thrive with a tyrannical king. You need to let them go, instead make ally with more kings who  value your service and give you peace of mind.

To your success

Lawrence Obi

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