Once upon a time there was a Parisian baker who traveled with his wife to America. While visiting a remote town in northern New Hampshire, the baker and his wife fell in love with the countryside, the fresh air and the simple way of life. They decided to open a bakery in a tiny town called Colebrook. At first it was an odd match. The baker and his wife didn’t speak English. The town folk had never seen a baguette. But over time the bakery prospered, drawing locals and visitors and selling out daily its croissants and apple tarts.
Then one day, the big bad US government came along and decided to deport the baker and his wife, refusing to renew their visas because the bakery didn’t earn enough money. For the residents of Colebrook, chocolate madeleines were about to melt into memories.
But the little town was not about to give up. Instead the entire community rose up in protest. They organized, signed petitions, lobbied congressmen and wrote letters. They were not about to let anyone take away their bakery. And lo and behold, confronted with an outpouring of support, the American Embassy in Paris realized the error of its ways and did the unthinkable. It changed its mind and let the baker and his wife stay. And everyone in Colebrook lived happily ever after.
Actually, this fairy tale is a true story. But it still has a lesson. And that is it’s always a good idea to make your customers love you and need you. Think about it. If you had to close up shop, would your customers be devastated? How about sad? OK, concerned? Would they simply take their business someplace else and forget about you? Or would they do something as heartwarming and supportive as band together, combine forces and figure out a way to keep you going?
Well in likelihood if you had customers that loyal you’d never be going out of business anyway. But perhaps the best time to ask yourself if your customers or clients or community need your products and services and content that badly is before you need them that badly.
How would your customers react if you were about to close your doors?