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The Worst Customer I Ever Had

And how they changed my entire perspective on customer success →

👀 Once you see it...

Many years ago, I led customer success at a tech company in the Bay Area, regularly meeting with the most important customers. One of these (a world-famous tech company) became the worst customer I ever had!

They were unreasonably demanding, constantly complaining, and no matter how much we did for them, they were impossible to satisfy. I came to dread our frequent meetings. 😣

The problem was that they were also one of our most valuable customers. There was no way to ignore them, and so my frustration steadily grew.

After a few years of this, I was sitting in a meeting at the customer's HQ when my frustration boiled over.

I heard myself say, "If you're so unhappy with us, why don't you just cancel your contract?!"

[SIDE NOTE: This should definitely be on a list of things NEVER to say to a customer! 🤐]

But I was unprepared when the customer responded with a devastatingly simple question of their own...

👉 "Why would we cancel when you get us such good results?" 👈

My immediate reaction was to feel embarrassed 🥴, not just because of my foolish outburst but for a more important reason...

It suddenly hit me that my view of the customer relationship was incredibly SHALLOW!

❓Why did I ever think we were working together to achieve "happiness" or "satisfaction?"

❓Where did such a ridiculous notion come from?

The simple answer, of course, was... that's what EVERYONE believed!

My perspective was based on an idea that had become the dominant business mentality of our age:


But with one simple question, this customer had utterly demolished this idea. Whether they were "happy" was irrelevant; all that mattered was their results!

This experience changed everything for me...

✅ I examined the research that purported to show that customer satisfaction causes customer loyalty and discovered it was shoddy and worthless.

✅ I analyzed my customer data and found absolutely zero connection between satisfaction and retention. Since then, I've expanded the research to show the same result using huge data sets across many companies.

✅ I also learned this customer wasn't unique: Customers who complain actually tend to stay much longer than customers who don't!

✅ But the most important discovery was that this customer's way of thinking reveals the TRUE DRIVER OF CUSTOMER RETENTION. My research shows that customers who achieve measurable results stay on average 6 to 10 times longer!

I'm now incredibly grateful to this horrible customer for opening my eyes. 👀

Once I could see through the hollowness of the "customer experience" mindset, a whole new landscape opened up to my view.

This is how my "worst customer ever" inadvertently unlocked for me the astonishing reality that will inevitably transform the entire world of business...

👉 Welcome to the age of RESULTS-LED GROWTH! 📈

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