A very, very good friend of mine is a huge college football fan, especially for his beloved alma mater. That is until this year (and he’s not the only person I know like this). Now it’s like a Medusa to him, killing everything good it sees.
This is because of all the fast-moving changes including players being able to switch schools yearly, the name & likeness program with little oversight, (supposed) money under the table to high school players, the schedule fluctuations week-to-week, etc. His alma mater is about to lose a season ticket holder sooner versus later.
The hierarchy starts with the NCAA and works its way down to conferences, athletic departments, coaches, players, and finally the fans (the ones who go to the games). The fans are the customers and if you or I treated our customers like my friend feels college football treats their customers we’d be in trouble (and we don’t have huge TV contracts like they do).
Customers are part of the big three (along with employees and suppliers) when it comes to evaluating companies, whether for growth reasons or as part of a buy-sell deal. Most people start by looking for customer concentration issues but there’s a lot more, including:
- Loyalty – what does it take for a customer to leave? If it’s a few pennies or dollars you have a problem.
- Reference – will they be a (glowing) reference for you? Let’s hope most will and will also provide a testimonial.
- Margins – Do the top customers pay enough to give you the gross margin you need from them?
- Service – as in your service to them. Is it at the top of the scale?
Finally, make sure your employees value the customers as they should. It’s a lot easier to keep a good customer than to find a new one.
“Everything I know most surely about morality and duty, I owe to football.” Albert Camus
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” Arthur Conan Doyle