As anyone who has ever owned a business knows, all customers are not created equal. In the Internet world, it seems like the highest valued customers are those we don’t have. The logic goes that the Internet connects millions or even billions of us, and we should do as much as we can to reach all these potential people and draw them to our site.
If you don’t subscribe to the “potential customer” approach, you might go for the “loudest customer” strategy. Customers who are always on your forums, chatting with you via email, or are just plain visible seem to be the ones to chase. Someone writes a nasty blog about your product? You better win them over before they tell their 2,000 Twitter followers.
Which approach do we use at Fellowstream? To tell the truth, neither of these.
Here our philosophy is simple. We sell a subscription service. Although we do offer free accounts, both for evaluation and so that students and individuals can use our products for free, they are not our primary customers. We love the paying people. Yes, even the silent ones who never talk to us. We do everything possible to keep these people happy. We’ll give up time and resources to make life easier for them, far beyond what we would do for loud customers (who don’t pay) or potential customers. Why? At the end of the day, these are the people who support us.
I marvel at the businesses who are always chasing after new customers. It’s much easier to maintain good relationships with people who have taken a chance on you than people who haven’t. And to the loud folk out there: I get that you’re loud, but lots of things are loud. They don’t necessarily support the real opinions and opportunities available to our business.
I hope you don’t think we’re ignoring everyone else. We’re not. But if you try to be everything to everyone, you lose. So why not be the best you can be to the people who have taken a chance on your business and get you through the rough times?
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