ON THE MIND\n\nThere often is conflict between businesses wanting\n\nto attract new customers vs. serving the customers they already have.\n\nIt is typical for companies to measure projected growth by the number\n\nof new customers needed to generate a certain amount of gross revenue.\n\nCompanies can relatively easily figure the cost to acquire new\n\ncustomers as well as determine the expected revenue per customer. \n\nFor example, acquiring cable TV subscribers and figuring the revenue\n\nper customer is straightforward based on industry standards and the\n\ncable company\u2019s past experience. On the other side, we know from our\n\npast research that customers today are more demanding, making it more\n\ndifficult for businesses to satisfy the customers they have. \n\nAnd therein lies the conflict. It can appear easier to generate new\n\nrevenue in the short term by acquiring new customers, while it can take\n\nmore effort and resource to satisfy existing customers.\n\nThe majority of senior executives and managers say that when it\n\ncomes to serving their customers or clients, their organizations\n\nemphasize acquiring new customers while also trying to exceed their\n\nbest customers\u2019 needs, based on a nationwide survey by NFI Research.\n\nThe survey also showed that the worst customers can expect the\n\nworst treatment, with 90 percent of respondents saying they do not\n\nemphasize serving the worst customers and 95 percent of them saying\n\nthey do not offer the best pricing to them.\n\nHowever, the best customers may not feel\n\nthey are the best, as only a quarter of companies emphasize the best\n\npricing for their best customers, though some are made to feel they are\n\nat the top of the list. \n\n\u201cWhen our vendors talk to us, they always position us as their best\n\ncustomer and say that we\u2019re on their premier list, even though we know\n\nwe may not be their best or premier customer,\u201d said one survey\n\nrespondent. \n\nSaid another: \u201cAll customers are valuable and should be treated the\n\nsame, and that is excellent pricing and service. At our company, we\n\nbuild relationships with our customers and that\u2019s what keeps them.\n\nPricing is usually pretty standard but the customer service, which so\n\nmany companies have lost focus on, keeps our customers and brings new\n\ncustomers through referrals.\u201d\n\nEveryone in business also wears two hats, as providers of goods\n\nor services as well as consumers of them, making each both a provider\n\nand a customer.\n\nAt the end of the day, it is all about the customer. Everyone\n\nin the marketplace is somebody\u2019s customer and serves other customers. \n\n\u201cI feel a substantial deterioration in quality of service and customer\n\nsatisfaction in the rush for market share,\u201d said one respondent. \n\n\u201cAs a customer, I find that my loyalty is rarely rewarded,\u201d said\n\nanother. \u201cIt seems the squeaky wheel does get the grease, in mobile\n\nphone contracts, at restaurants and even in company management through\n\npay increases. There is little incentive to change because a loyal\n\ncustomer typically remains as such, until she leaves.\u201d\n\nBusinesses should take care to make sure that in the rush to\n\nget new customers, the customers they have are being treated well.\n\nAfter all, new customers only remain that way for a short period of\n\ntime.