Treat the Customer Like a Prince…

Is it better to be loved or to be feared? The ends justify the means. One must be a fox as well as a lion etc. AH The Prince, great book, a lot of interesting concepts, but why am I writing about a book most people were forced to read in college? Well for one, I like it. But the real reason why I am thinking about Niccolo Machiavelli, is because of work.

Recently, I wrote a blog post on a project that I was working on for my supervisior. It was concerning Tuesdays, and customer loyalty. Customer Loyalty, seems pretty important no? If your customers aren’t loyal, it’s probably because of something you did, or perhaps didn’t do. Referrals are one the best forms of marketing or advertisement, you only refer who you enjoyed working with in one capacity or another. Also we tend to work and or buy things from people we like. This is why networking is so vital. That’s all I ever heard about at the Williams College of Business at Xavier- “networking-networking-networking.” Given the aforementioned, I think that customer service, and to be more precise, customer loyalty is paramount. So then, why The Prince as a preamble.

As the first line of my rant goes, is it better to be feared or loved? According to Niccolo Machiavelli, it is best be both, but seeing how this is rarely accomplished, it is better that you are feared than loved. There is no real concise way to put his explanation on why, but he does give his reasons. Again, why am I writing this? I tend to read a lot of philosophy and I find that it inspires me. Not that I think that our customers should be loyal due to fear of retribution. Personally, I say neither answer is right. I say that, better than being feared or loved is being respected. If people fear you, they will due only what is necessary to not be punished, which will render you moderate at best results. Love on the other hand can, at times, skew people’s judgment, which can lead to a lack of necessary constructive criticism. If I was starting a business, the last thing that I would want is a bunch of “yes men” to back me up or take point. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is king, people want to do good for those they admire, they want to work with those they admire, they are loyal to those they admire. This is why Fortune, ranks the “most admired companies.”

Now considering my recent project, in my humble opinion, customer loyalty comes down to respect. Given to and received from customer to business. It’s a two-way street. Respect comes down to relationships, and relationships come down to the Tuesday Model or The Tuesday(superscript C) Model. It’s linear. If the customer is simply a means to an end, then the relationship will end quicker than you think. We must remember that ultimately the customer is our “boss” and not vice versa.