I was sitting in a presentation where a technology company executive announced that his software "moved at the speed of his customers." The person next to me, a master technologist, whispered "then it sounds to me like he needs better customers."
Do you ever get the feeling you are in the same boat? Do you think you need better customers?
I hear this sentiment expressed by business people in a number of different ways. "I wish my customers paid me faster", "I wish they valued my services", "I like it when they say I did a great job", "I wish they would tell people about my services.", etc. My question to to them is, what are you doing to train your customers so they do whatever it is you want them to do?
Want your customers to pay faster? What are you doing to encourage that behavior? How about accepting electronic payments. Giving them early payment discounts. Providing a hotline where they can resolve any billing questions.
Want customers to value your services? How are you helping them see the value in what you provide? If you provide a technical service, you need to offer free educational seminars, create whitepapers, send them a newsletter that explains technical concepts in a straightforward manner. Deliver training webinars, post video clips explaining one concept or idea at a time.
Want your customers to give you feedback? Do you have a survey tool or other way for them to provide feedback? Create an electronic survey, hand out notecards for feedback, or have someone call them and see how the service or product is working for them.
Want people to tell others about your product or service? Make it easy for them. Make your story simple and easy to repeat. Build a tagline that they can remember. Create a one page referral sheet that helps them understand your target customer. Thank them for their business and for any referrals. Direct them to sites like yelp.com where they provide their feedback.
Just like the dog owner who complains about his poorly behaved pet, maybe you should look at the training you are providing your customers before you start looking for new ones.