Rule one: You can build a business on the foundation of great customer service.
Rule two: The only way to do great customer service is to treat different customers differently. The question: Who is your customer? It’s not obvious.
Zappos is a classic customer service company, and their customer is the person who buys the shoes. Nike, on the other hand, doesn’t care very much at all about the people who buy the shoes, or even the retailers. They care about the athletes (often famous) that wear the shoes, sometimes for money. They name buildings after these athletes, court them, erect statues . . .
Columbia Records has no idea who buys their music and never has. On the other hand, they understand that their customer is the musician, and they have an entire department devoted to keeping that ‘customer’ happy. (Their other customer was the program director at the radio station, but we know where that’s going . . . )
Many manufacturers have retailers as their customer. If Wal-Mart is happy, they’re happy. Apple had just one customer. He passed away last year. And some companies and politicians choose the media as their customer. If you can only build one statue, who is it going to be a statue of?
About the Author: Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder of squidoo.com and was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!