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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How many Walsall fans does it take to change a mind?

Exile @ 12:57 am Wednesday 25 November 2009

Tonight’s league match against Oldham saw a crowd of just 2,960 Saddlers fans watch our 3-0 demolition job. Take away the usual excuses such as midweek, weather, cup on Saturday (although that’s an unusual excuse given our performances in recent years!) and dress it up however you want, that’s a terrible number for a team sat on the cusps of the League One playoffs.

It’s too late now to do anything substantial about ticketing, seating and pricing differentials for this year, so one thing, and only one thing, could make a difference to the rest of the campaign. It’s time for the club owner to front up and state his ambitions for this season.

Is our debt sustainable enough to stand a season with a squad and manager that are growing together, seemingly stronger and more comfortable with each passing game, or will we have to sell up one or more of our promising youngsters in the January sales? If it’s the latter, I think the fans deserve to know sooner rather than later, and be given the reasons why.

Undoubtedly we’ll have to pay this debt off, but using such a short-term solution as selling a player when we’re in the position we are now would be a folly up there with the worst of them, guaranteed to see a further decline in numbers as the remaining fans realise what they’ve been willing to ignore thus far – under the current owner, Walsall’s mantra is “no ambition, no commitment, no future”.

Please, Jeff, do one thing this January, stand firm behind the club and you’ll see more fans stand behind you instead of against you.

Walsall Old Boys v Walsall Supporters All-Stars Charity Match

Exile @ 8:21 pm Wednesday 07 October 2009

On Sunday 25 October a team of Walsall Old Boys, managed by Chris ‘Stepover’ Marsh, will take on a team made up of Walsall supporters, organised by the Walsall Supporters Trust.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 1.00pm at the Rushall Olympic ground in Dales Lane, Rushall.

All players are donating £10 as a playing fee for the game, and spectators can pay on the gate; just £2 entry (accompanied juniors free) to watch what will surely be a passionate and committed spectacle as two confident teams face off against each other, one handicapped by being rank amateurs, the other by age.

All proceeds are going to the Walsall Hospice Appeal, the club’s preferred charity, so if you want to donate more as you enter, please feel free to do so.

The Trust are also hoping to organise a raffle, so any assistance with prizes – offers of goods or services both welcome – can email Dean from UTS at deanonev69@hotmail.com

Please, if you’ve got no plans for that day, turn up, make some noise, have fun and help raise money for a Walsall Hospice!

Walsall Supporters Trust – Open Meeting 24 September

Exile @ 10:48 pm Monday 14 September 2009

The Trust are holding an open meeting on 24 September at the Saddlers Club.

Starting at 7.45pm there’s no fixed agenda, and the idea is to host an open forum for ALL supporters, not just Trust members, to pool ideas and discuss the way forward for the Trust, as well as get to know the people whose (voluntary) job it is to do this – the Trust Board.

There’ll be a bar service, so rather than go down the pub, why not do something to help the Trust, help the club and help the fans of Walsall FC?

A strong trust has proven an asset to many similar sized clubs and we encourage everyone to get involved and help the Trust grow and move forward in a positive, popular direction.

Dean and the crew would love to see you there, whatever your opinion.

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