The customer expired. Period

In the relationship between the seller and buyer, when does the relationship end..or does it? Businesses these days work with the rule – our relationship is with his money and not with him.

Most companies today work on the premise, once the payment is made by the customer, we have got nothing to do with him. The days where the customer is king, is sovereign is something bizarre and unheard of in present day business. Phrases like KYC (Know Your Customer) are nice to hear!

Today’s enterprises are the most enterprising when it comes to wooing the customer till he pays. Once that is done, the customer is abandoned and unthinkable rude treatment is also meted out to him. Many a time, it’s as if business is doing a favor to the customer to even give him the time of the day! There are several instances where the customer has to pay for a year ahead but service becomes mediocre over the year and again gets stimulated as the renewal is due.

My website expired as the domain service provider decided it was not his problem as I decided not to renew with him. I had paid him in full for a shoddy and incomplete job. Yet it is he who has the sole right to be upset with me but I have no right to as all the ‘power’ is in his hands! Since he would be getting no benefit by doing this service of providing the details, he was not to be bothered with any of my requests. What did I ever do to trouble him other than ask him to do what was part of the contract that he had entered into? I kept my side of the contract by paying in full but did he?

I train the corporate in life skills and people skills but this company taught me that in Life, people are of no importance: “People come with money and Life is made of it. You have no money for me, you and your life is of no consequence to me. Businesses can sleep on it and wake up hoping for more money in the morning.” This kind of treatment is very normal not just with small-time fly-by-night operators but also the multinationals. I remember the time, my credit card was misused to its entire credit limit and the banker was assuring us about the number of days within which a complaint needs to be resolved etc. Notwithstanding all that, I did my own homework and contacted the ‘supposed vendor’ and told him that I didn’t do the transaction and was disputing the transaction. The charges got reversed and I solved the problem myself with no help from the bank. To this day, the bank never ever got back to me as to how this transaction happened and what action they took on this. I closed the card and to this day, they still pursue hoping we will renew the relationship. Funnily, the people who call have no idea what we have gone through and even if they knew they would offer the card with no ‘annual fee’ etc nonsense. They’ll never learn.

Entrepreneurs are concerned with the art of making money and the client-customer is a pawn in this path of his. Yet to see a ‘seller’ who values a customer irrespective of ‘present’ or ‘past’. It is like if not this customer, fine, we have many more. Let’s move on.

Entrepreneurs with this attitude will all their lifetimes be chasing something or someone as they will never be able to settle down peacefully. Life is an endless chase and they are going to get breathless during the race. Cheap short term gains will never lead to long term growth. These firms will always lead a ‘live-for-today’ existence.

The customer should never ever be allowed to expire. The product may expire but neither the producer nor the customer. It should go on and on for eternity. That’s how a cherished business relationship should be. The service cannot be till payment is done and not beyond. The business will grow exponentially only if the ‘seller’ works with this philosophy.

There are so many courses that train people in selling, marketing where they are taught and trained aggressive marketing skills but they are silent about customer retention by principles, ethics and values and performance. It’s again by marketing gimmicks to further tie him up some more so that he does not escape their clutches.

The days are looming ahead and I see the death of the customer clearly. But unknown to himself, the producer also has expired as without the customer there is no producer.

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