Not all customers are created equal and unfortunately from time to time as a business’s strategy changes or market conditions alter it is necessary to cull certain customers.
Now this may sound strange coming from a customer centricity advocate but this is the reality of running a successful business. After all with out profits there is no business.
However there is a customer centric way to fire your customers and it does not mean kicking them on their way out the door! Every customer is valuable to a business and that includes past customers.
Customer centric businesses treat all customers with respect and when it is time to part ways with a customer, the company is still looking at ways it can do that in a value adding way. What does that mean? It may mean making recommendations to customers on alternative companies that can help them solve their problems.
A professional colleague of mine who runs a small international consulting business recently told me the story of how he received the message his business was no longer wanted by his bank, Wells Fargo.
He had been doing business with Wells Fargo International (an internationally focused unit within the bank) for more than 10 years when the following message arrived randomly in his in box:
An interesting way to part ways no doubt! Now I don’t know all the details behind the decision to stop doing business with these customers or this specific consulting firm’s financial arrangements with the bank but it appears like a missed opportunity.
To throw away a 10 year business relationship because of an internal decision about the profitability of a certain part of the bank? Surely customers that received this message would be welcomed by other parts of the Wells Fargo?
What do you think?