Clients vs Customers

This is a true story. And it’s making me nervous.

How could a company with a great product end up with customers talking openly about jumping ship. On their own website!

It starts with…

Why haven’t they updated the product in 8 months?

Why don’t they tell us what’s coming up?

Then…

Are they listening to us?

Why the hell aren’t they responding to us?

Finally…

Those other guys are great: they’re listening and talking… and their product looks really cool.

I’m switching… Me too…

No, this isn’t a story about some ‘last century’ corporation that doesn’t know or care that the world has changed.

This is about a small tech company with a great software product and lots of paying customers who love it. They deserve to do well, and I’m still using their product. For now.

But, I’m worried because all I’m getting is radio silence. I can’t help but wonder if something’s wrong.

Are they mulling over offers to buy them out?

Do they really think they are ‘too busy’ to talk with us?

Has their lead developer died?

Who knows.

Point is, if they don’t keep talking with us (the people who pay them to help us) then we will assume the worst. We’ll gossip. We’ll speculate. We’ll look elsewhere.

Finally, we’ll go to someone else. Someone who gives a damn.

Here in 2013, we can’t afford to ignore the people who pay us, to help them. No matter how smart we are or how great our widgets are.

If we want them to stay with us then we need to keep listening and talking with the people we’re in the business of helping.

Ignore someone who pays for your help, and you’ll lose a customer. Build a relationship with them and you’ll have a client who sticks around for more.

I’m still with these guys for now but they’re skating on very thin ice.

Photo credit: André P. Meyer-Vitali