Do you know who your A-list customers are? I was in a board meeting last week when I heard an interesting story from one of the other board members. Mike recalled when he was a young man and developed an interest in electrical work. While continuing to work at his day job, Mike developed a skill for doing light (pardon the pun!) electrical work.
As time passed, the demand for Mike’s work increased. He would do odd jobs for people on the weekend and at night. He would install flood lights, ceiling fans and fixtures. In addition, friends and family would request favors which he was happy to do! As the request started pouring in Mike started keeping two lists; one for paying customers; the other for favors.
One day his brother-in-law asked if Mike would do a favor by installing a flood light for his father-in-law. Mike agreed and put the name on the list. Several months went by and the brother-in-law had not heard from Mike. When he asked Mike why he had not installed the light, Mike explained his two lists.
The first list was the A list. This list consisted of paying customers. The B list was for favors. Mike was happy to start working on the B list as soon as he had completed the A list. The brother-in-law thought for a moment, then said that he would like to be moved to the A list.
Often, we lump our own customers together. We treat the loyal customer who pays promptly the same as the demanding customer who is never happy and pays slow! In fact, it is often the demanding customer who gets more of our attention.
The lesson of this story is that we should have an A list and a B list for our customers. The A list should consist of those customers that pay on time, value our services and refer our name. The B list is for customers that don’t value our services, dispute our fees and are late or slow paying our bills. We should constantly be increasing the length of the A list and shortening the B list.
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