Friday, 2 March 2012

Writing for your business: Clients or customers?

How do you describe the people who buy from you?

It’s not unusual to hear people say, ‘This job would be fine without the customers’. And since we’re all human it’s obvious that sometimes people coming to us for our products or services can drive us mad. I put my hand up and confess I've had clients who caused me irritation and impatience.

Some large companies get rid of 10% of their worst customers each year on the basis that they make no profit from them and yet that 10% are as demanding as the top 10% of their high buying customers.

When we write for our ideal reader, what view do we have of them?

If we understand marketing, then we know we have to create a picture of their way of living, find out as much as we can about their needs and pitch to that.

But are we investing in them as real human beings, similar to us? People we might meet at the school gate or in the supermarket queue. And are we offering them the respect that they deserve and treat them accordingly?

Recently I read something about treating people not how we would like to be treated but how they wish to be treated. It made me stop and think about my attitudes. Of course I want to be treated with respect, and as an individual, not lumped in with hundreds of thousands in my so-called social category. I don’t want to be pigeon holed because I live in a particular area or type of house. In short I don’t want to be seen as anything other than an individual who has conflicting thoughts about life and how to live it.

That’s how I've always tried to behave towards others  Do I now need to go an extra mile?

I believe that it is possible to run a business, treat those who come to me with respect and turn a profit. To do so may need a shift in thinking. It may require me to say goodbye to some clients who aren’t a good fit for me.

And I certainly it starts from how I think about them and write to them.

Despite the fact that traditionally only professionals such as accountants or lawyers used the word ‘client’ in describing people they deal with, does the word we choose have an effect on the way we behave?

How would you like to be described?  Are you a customer or a client?

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