The Customer Is Not Always Right

Exile @ 8:30 pm Thursday 08 April 2010

The title of this piece is a rehash of an old maxim. I’ve always thought it wrong – Successful businesses know that the customer is NOT always right, contrary to popular belief.

Take Walsall FC for example. With over 3000 regular, repeat customers, just over half whom have already signed up to be repeat customers for another 12 months, there’ll be 3,000 opinions. The customer can’t always be right. Bonser in or out? Bonser saved the club or killed the club? Each fan has a different take on this, so they’re not right.

So, if you know your customer is not always right, what’s to be done?

You don’t alienate your most passionate, loyal and long-suffering regulars by suddenly announcing in the local press that if they complain they’ll be ejected from the premises. It’s a natural reaction to try to marginalise any dissenting opinion but crushing protest with threats of banning is not a way forward if you want to succeed.

A business should be asking itself how this protest came about, why it evolved into what it did, what might be done to make it go away and whether it might be constructively good for business if harnessed effectively. Yes, many of the customers might not be protesting vocally, but there’s many whose silent protest bears witness every match in the form of empty seats.

Customers that speak up and show discontent, while still turning up to consume the product, thereby providing revenue, are surely more valuable than those who have already walked away? Silencing them is forcing them down the same path. Result: Less customers. Less revenue.

The customer is not always right, but the customer should always, ALWAYS, be listened to.

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Stourbridge FA Cup Ticketing Arrangements

Exile @ 8:01 pm Thursday 29 October 2009

Walsall have been allocated 490 (yes, 490!) tickets for their FA Cup first round match away against plucky Stourbridge on Saturday 7 November. Refreshingly, Stourbridge haven’t cashed in on their opposition’s lofty status and the tickets cost only 12 quid (or 8 for concessions)

This unusually high allocation should take the pressure off the gate considering we take much less than that to most away games at the moment, but this being the “magical” FA Cup, there’ll be some pressure on fans to get in early to book their ticket or miss out.

Season Ticket holders get first dibs, but to honour these faithful supporters the club has decided, in it’s infinite wisdom, to put tickets on sale at 10.00am this Saturday, October 31, when many of these regular followers will already be on the road, travelling to support the Super Saddlers away at glamorous Wycombe. The ticket office closes at 2.00pm on Saturday, reopening Monday morning, which rather scotches the club’s excuse that the tickets had to go on sale Saturday as many fans can’t wait till Monday as they have to be at work. How about those Season Ticket holders that work, AND are loyal enough to be going to follow the fortunes of the club away on Saturday?

If you’re a Season Ticket holder AND going to Wycombe, get a mate or family member to go down to the ground with your season ticket book Saturday morning for the best chance of gettting a ticket.

Perhaps a fairer solution would have been to start selling tickets from the town shop on Sunday. Still, when has customer cervice ever been a strong point of the club, especially when you know you’ll sell out anyway?

Casual fans (as in no season ticket, not young idiots with ASBOs) get an opportunity, if there’s any left, at 9.00am on Thursday 5 November.

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