Your customers are passionate people. They don't like unfair labor practices. They don't like laws they consider unjust. They don't like paying more than they should for necessities. They don't like being discriminated against. They don't like being treated like cattle.
A hundred years ago, people didn't ave much of a voice. Today they do. And they like it.
Every day, more businesses are launched. Every day, more new products reach the websites they visit and the shelves of the retail outlets they like to buy from. Every day, they are given more opportunities to choose whom to do business with, and whom not to do business with.
Gone are the days when the neighborhood butcher was really the only convenient place to buy meat. Gone are the days when watching TV meant choosing between four channels. Gone are the days when you either bought a Ford or a Chevy. An IBM or an Apple. Nike or Adidas.
The more choices your customers have, the more power they hold... and the least likely they are to choose you over your competition.
People work hard for their dollars, and they are becoming increasingly savvy about how and where to spend them. They've all been burned. They've all been lied to. They're a lot more cautious now... and demanding.
The companies who will engage them, give them the value they demand, treat them well and make them crave more will earn their dollars... and their friends' dollars, and their families' dollars and on and on and on.
Other companies, those who fail to do this will see their revenue stagnate or dwindle. They will resort to expensive advertising campaigns and outsourcing and repositioning to stay afloat.
People hold the power. Your customers. They control where the dollars go. They control what is said about brand A vs. brand B. They control what products are hot and what products are not.
Look at "American Idol". Look at the success of iPod. Look at the popularity of MySpace. When people are engaged by a product or brand, they contribute to its growth. If they aren't, that brand gets ignored and dies.
Your customers decide if you are worth doing business with, or if you aren't. All you have to do is listen and decide what kind of relationship you want to have with them. Do you want to be their first choice, or do you want to be their third or fifth or twelfth?
Do you want to be the one they spend their money on, or the one they don't?
Do you want to be the first name they think of when it comes to buying a cupof coffee, or a new car, or a computer, or a pair of shoes... or do you want to be an afterthought?
They have the power. They decide your fate.
Whom do you think you should be courting today... and tomorrow... and the day after that?
Who do you work for?
(See where I'm going with this?)
Every customer is your boss. My boss. Our boss. Every single one. From the kid who spends twenty-five cents on a piece of gum to the VC who comes in to drop seven figures on your latest project.
Your job, whatever and wherever it may be, is to make sure that your customers choose you over everyone else.
Something to think about.