Do not treat customers like kings, instead make them heros

Here is an age old wisdom that can break your back when you are starting. We always hear this

“Customer is king”

Well, I want to  break that notion.

First lets understand what king means.

In my view,

  • King has attention and respect of you at his beck and call
  • King can get things done, by forcing you to do
  • King can walk out and tarnish your image if he chooses to
  • King wants things to be done to him and not want to be part of building the stuff.

While the King view might work in industries where supply outstrips demand, in the world of internet / web based start-ups, it may not work.

I think, instead of approaching customers as Kings, if you approach them as Heros, you might build a lasting product and sell more.

Here is why,

  • Hero feels awesome about the products (s)he uses
  • Hero feels wanted and gifted because (s)he knows how best to use your product
  • Hero feels proud to showcase his / her talents while using your products
  • Hero wants to work with you to make him more awesome. (S)he does not want you to work for him / her.

How to make your customers heros?

Very simple. Design a product whose USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is “Our product <name> should be bought because it makes you rock / awesome / fly / cool“.

For example, Apple iPod (or iPhone) has this USP. We want to purchase an iPod not because it is the best music player in the world. It is because, iPod can make you cool. You feel awesome the moment you flick fingers to browse songs or tap the screen to make a call.

iPod or iPhone are from a company with zillion dollars in marketing and product design budgets. But what about a tiny teeny startup like mine or yours?

Again very simple. At the heart of hero approach is passion.

  • So be genuinely passionate about your customers. Always think, “how can this idea / product / article / image / whatever make my customers awesome / cool / rock”.
  • Instead of focusing on features and benefits alone, think in terms of how your customers will be able to use your product to become awesome in front of their colleagues / boss.
  • Instead of saying “Our product can do x”, say, “you can do x better /cooler / faster / with our product” and work your ass off to mean it.

If you make your customers heros, you have a rocking future ahead.

So who are you making heros? Please share using comments.

Inspiration for this article:

PS: Image credit from yosoyjulito

6 thoughts on “Do not treat customers like kings, instead make them heros”

  1. Hi Chandoo, I am reading through the archives at your start-up blog. This piece was really interesting and useful to me. I have been blogging for six years and I get a lot of questions from readers. Some readers have engaged with me and become champions and evangelists. I’ve met them in person and become more closely connected. Others, however have asked for advice and then vanished never to be heard from again. I will keep your advice in mind and treat readers like heros moving forward rather than making the customer a king right from the get go. This is truly great advice – thanks!

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