Are you banking on your Customers?

Table of Contents

If you’re not, someone is and will take them over.

Things are changing, and things are changing pretty fast.

In the connected worldwidewebs, any customer can buy anything from anywhere within a reasonable price range.

Companies that want to thrive, and charge premium prices, need to understand psychology more than science if they want to crush it, hard.

That’s our motto here at Ethical Scaling, the only way to actually cross the chasm and ensure longevity and profitability is by having a client-centric approach.

And unless your clients are “bots”, you’re dealing with humans. And humans can be erratic and unpredictable… but are they?

They might sound like they are but as humans, we have hundreds of thousands of years of evolution that might make us look erratic, while in reality, we’re not. We’re following paths that have been optimized for different times.

Which makes you think… How can I make them happy then?

Apart from reading our new book Customer Success Manifesto that explains it all in detail, I can address one of those questions now. Can you make your customers happy 100% of the time?

The long and short answer is: NO.

What should you aim for instead?

Understanding how humans operate under uncertainty

Virginia Satir once said: “People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.”

Isn’t that the truth?

Isn’t that the way Uber fixed the uncertainty of missing a cab? Creating a multibillion-dollar company?

And they don’t do it “right” 100% of the time, but they remove variance (the uncertainty of a crappy experience).

The same will apply to your customers, the sooner you build certainty and use that to build the goodwill bank account, the more you’ll be allowed to let things be “less than perfect”.

I’m sure you’ve had some Raving Fans using your service, if you look back, was the experience perfect?

I’m sure it was not, it never is. Still, they stuck around, left reviews, and brought new referrals.

As soon as we move from the “economic world” where everything is transactional, to the “social world” where things are based on belonging, respect, and trust, you’ll be in much better shape than relying on your customer looking for a Return on Their Investment.

This is what we call Building Relationships at Scale. 

It’s the only way to avoid transactional business, and losing clients too early in the journey. It’s as simple as it sounds, but not easy.

It will require dedication and making this a priority.

But without this process in place, without building on that goodwill bank account, you’ll keep losing clients. Dealing with cancellations, refunds, and a lack of clients that extend their contract duration.

And yes, I know there are lots of ways to measure this! One of the most common ones is NPS. (Net Promoter Score).

Keeping it short: I don’t trust NPS.

Most people lie, and they don’t even know what they want. Relying on a survey that happens asynchronously to measure goodwill is a recipe for disaster.

If you want to measure something, measure goodwill. 

How so?

By keeping a solid tracking system in place, SOPs, a trained team, and ensuring you have a Quality Control Process that guarantees standards are being met.

That will give you a good way to gauge if the goodwill is going up or down and if an account is at risk or not.

Adding goodwill as a deposit

As simple as it sounds whenever you meet a client’s expectation you’re depositing goodwill.

They will be measuring your follow-through and connect that with their goodwill bank account.

And it’s never going to be a big deposit, but a small one, that can happen across multiple touchpoints, that will end up compounding over time.

Why is this important?

Like an investment strategy, the sooner you start investing, the better. The same logic applies to your clients.

The sooner in the client journey you can start depositing, the more margin you get to withdraw later on (when you drop the ball on something).

If you look back, if you got a cancellation or refund request, aren’t the majority of them happening in the first few weeks of working together?

Most of the cases are because there wasn’t enough goodwill, and certainty, to keep the relationship going.

A way we measure this, and we plug in our client’s trackers, is by measuring TTV = Time To Value.

The sooner you get a client to experience Value, to have at least some kind of an emotional breakthrough, the faster you build that goodwill bank account to a solid baseline.

Using some of the goodwill for specific purposes

After you have built the goodwill bank account, you can leverage that for some potential withdrawals.

I like to look at them as potential “investment strategies” or “fixing strategies”. Let me go through it.

The investment strategy would be you using that goodwill to ask for a referral, a testimonial, a review, or to screenshot a win. All of these four will require different levels of goodwill: 

  • A Screenshot of a win shared uses very little goodwill (and effort)
  • A Review (Trustpilot as an example) uses a bit more
  • A Testimonial uses a bit more than a Review
  • And the Referral is the one that uses it the most

This will help use “timing” to get what you want throughout the journey. Here I’d apply Nassim Taleb’s Barbell strategy (going with low-risk low return and mixing it with high risk and high return):

Most of my time I’d focus on getting easy screenshots/wins, and as soon as I’ve built enough goodwill for a Referral I’d go for it.

Any time you feel like the low risk and low return was easy (the screenshot) push it further and get the Review.

Any time you feel like the high risk and high return didn’t work (they didn’t provide a referral) ask for the testimonial as a concession.

“Jay, you’re amazing at manipulation” – LOL, I can be but that’s not the goal.

These simple moves actually serve your client better as they’re also used as moments of recognition.  

But withdrawals won’t end here, I just talked about investment strategies. What about the fixing strategies?

Here the analogy is like when your car breaks down. It’s not an investment per se, it’s an expense, but it’s part of the unpredictable.

The same applies to your clients.

When you were supposed to do something and you don’t you are unintentionally withdrawing from the goodwill bank account.

And from my experience over the last 3 years, and more than 100 different businesses, most of the time those fixes are small and don’t deplete the goodwill bank account.

What I’ve seen aren’t elephants, but mosquito bites.

Small withdrawals, that compound over time and they don’t make up for the small deposits, ending up with massive debt.

This explains why some businesses struggle to get the 4 investment strategies explained above. And worst case scenario, losing clients.


I tried to keep everything super simple as I know how transformational this mindset shift can be when working with clients.

That’s what we train teams on. That’s how your fulfillment and customer success department goes from an expense to a revenue-generating department.

It’s an investment that will produce results.

If you need our help to review what your “system withdrawals” are, to help find ways to increase “system deposits”, and have a fat customer goodwill bank account (or several), click the form, and let’s chat.

All the best,


Ben McLellan
Ben McLellan

The Spiritual Entrepreneur- you can embody spirituality and still have a thriving business.

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