S:0159 Distinction: Customer Flow vs. Customer Base

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


It is traditional language to speak of having a base of customers. This implies that you somehow “own” or “possess” customers. Therefore a base of customers, like any other asset, is to be protected or defended.

On the other hand, customer flow implies that people are not your customers, then they become your customers, then they once again are not your customers. Since this is what is happening anyway, it is useful to treat the process as a naturally occurring one rather than something to be feared.

To see customers as part of a flow is in sync with the way the world works today. It’s not news that things are changing rapidly. The days when customers were “brand-loyal” are past. People now move to their next vendor for the slightest reasons.

The shifts for you to make are from scarcity to abundance and from narrow focus to wide angle vision. The first shift, to abundance, means that you will have to see that there are more potential customers for your product or service than you could ever handle. (If that’s not the case, then you need to rethink the fundamentals of your business.)

The shift to having a wide angle vision will allow you to respond to new opportunities quickly and stay in the flow of changing markets.

Having made these shifts you will enjoy living with a flow of customers rather than worrying where a new customer will come from and suffering when a current customer goes away.


Copyright 1998 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.