Less-than-ideal customers can be drain for business

I had some business at a courthouse the other day. Upon entering through the large double doors, I was greeted by a sheriffís deputy. He asked if he could help and directed me to the proper department. He was courteous and helpful. He was also vigilant. In effect, he was screening me to be certain I was not a threat in any way.

That experience led me to think about businesses and how they could benefit from a screening process for their prospective customers. Are you selective about who you allow to become your customer or will you let just anyone in the door? Iím sure many readers are shaking their heads now and wondering what Iím talking about. After all, customers are not a threat to a business. Or are they?

Think about this. Not everyone deserves to become a customer. I use the word ďdeservesĒ because I view your business as the key instrument enabling you to achieve satisfaction and happiness. If your business is to move you toward satisfaction and happiness, it must attract customers who will contribute toward your satisfaction and happiness. Of course, your customers donít approach your business concerned about your well-being. They are much more concerned about their own well-being.

Letís back up a bit and ask questions to provide some clarity. What is your vision for your business? By that, I mean, what is your business supposed to accomplish? What must your business do to help you achieve your ideal personal life? By ideal personal life, Iím including family, passions, hobbies, values, free-time and anything else important to you. Now, letís return to those questions about customers.

What type of customer does your business need to move toward your vision? What does that customer look like? Customers should not only need your product or service, they should also want to obtain it from you because of your particular mode or style of operation.

Here is an acronym that may help you crystallize your picture of that customer. They must be a CAPP client. They must Cooperate with your business model. They must Appreciate your Product or service and the way you offer it. They must Pay on time and in full. They must be Profitable.

A customer who does not meet the CAPP requirement detracts from your ability to find and care for customers who do meet the requirements. Time spent working with difficult customers who donít cooperate with reasonable business guidelines, who donít appreciate the efforts your employees put forth, donít pay on time and take energy and resources away from the CAPP customer Ė will almost certainly be less profitable.

Donít accept customers who donít measure up. It is difficult to pass up a prospect or to fire an existing customer. However, if you have a serious and realistic vision for your business, a business model that delivers value and an adequate pool of prospects, you canít afford to accept customers that fail to match your CAPP requirements. Think about your customers. You owe it to them and to yourself.

Bowser@BusinessValueInsights.com. Dan Bowser is president of Value Insights, Inc. of Durango, Chandler, Ariz, and Summerville, Pa.