I have a sign that sits in front of me on my desk in a place that I can’t help but see it many times each day. It is number 17 of the Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive and it says:
Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
I can’t get this off my mind today. I met this morning with a friend who is an account manager for a large technology company and he told me about a little trouble he has been having with one of his larger accounts. “Yeah, we dropped the ball on a couple things and they are upset. I’ll give it some time and they will come around.”
Come around? Customers don’t come around. They respond to the value that we offer them through the experience they receive (including our products and services and the way we take care of them). When they have a good experience with us, they increase their share of wallet with us. When the experience is bad, they increase their share of wallet with our competitors that offer a better experience.
So while my friend is practicing Zen-like patience waiting for his customer to come around, his competitors are about to discover that their persistence in providing value is about to pay off.
If patience includes taking customers for granted, settling for the status quo and finding reasons not to take actions to improve the experience your customers receive, it is no virtue. It is a curse.
Customers require constant attention; actually, they deserve constant attention. Those who provide it will prosper. Those who wait for their customers to come around will suffer.