Companies need demanding customers if they want to become great companies. Fred Wiersema, a consultant and author of The New Market Leaders: Who’s Winning and How in the Battle for Customers calls these demanding clients “stretch customers.” Not all stretch customers are profitable for a company — nor should they be. Rather, they tend to be forerunners of the demand that the market will show eventually,” says Wiersema. “If a company can satisfy a stretch customer, it will get better at what it does. This is why stretch customers are incredibly important for a company in the long term.
“But it’s important to differentiate between that kind of customer and a lagging customer a company shouldn’t spend time on,” he continues, “because lagging customers can disrupt the business. You have to size up your customers and decide who you can serve. If you have customers who don’t offer substantial revenue, if they’re not strategically important, if they’re more trouble than they’re worth, then your employees should not be devoting too much time to them. It frustrates the employee and doesn’t do anything for the company.”
Lets be proactive in identifying these customers. We need to also make sure we understand that the customers that stretches us also makes us better – even GREAT!