The Customer Most Likely to Succeed

High school reunions are always an interesting time to compare prediction with reality.  Invariably someone brings a class yearbook.  It triggers many before and after thoughts.  Is the homecoming queen as attractive as when she was crowned?  Is the “wittiest” senior still funny?  And, the most fascinating question:  how did the class member chosen as “most likely to succeed” actually turn out?

Service providers can sometimes make assumptions about customers.  The poorly dressed patron may be a rich person in disguise.  The gruff customer may be just dealing with a major personal challenge.  And, the person wanting change for a dollar may be a prospect for a sizable purchase and/or a long term relationship.

When Seafirst Bank customer John Barrier tried to get a fifty cent parking ticket validated after cashing a check, the teller informed him that his transaction did not qualify a bank customer for free parking.  Barrier had been a customer of the Spokane bank for thirty years.  And, Mr. Barrier’s response?  He moved his million dollar balance to the competitor down the street.  And the lesson learned by the bank:  Treat every customer like the “person most likely to succeed.”  You never know when they will be.

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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