August 22, 2007

The Customer Equality Paradox

This is an interactive post, and I’m curious to know what everyone thinks.

Twice in the past two weeks customer equality has crossed my path. The first time was about two weeks ago when a colleague said to me, “The [Customer 1] and [Customer 2] seem to be your highest priority and everyone is mine.” The comment was made with the utmost sincerity, honesty, passion and true belief which I really respected. But my first thought was is this really realistic? Is it a smart business decisions to give all customers the same importance?

The second instance was just a couple days ago. I was flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and showed up to the gate well after the first boarding announcement was made. I always fly United and recently they implemented a Red Carpet boarding line where regardless of when you show up they will completely stop the other line and let you board if you qualify for the Red Carpet line. For this flight I could not use the Red Carpet line, but I’ve often thought is it fair that someone gets to stop the entire line after showing up late to board? Is it a good business decision to treat two customers differently when they paid the same amount for a service?

Both of these instances speak to the Customer Equality Paradox: are all customers equal. It is important to note here that I’m not asking are all customers important, because that’s an easy answer. Rather, are all customers of equal importance to your business?

Complete the survey below and I’ll let everyone know what the outcome is. I’m interested to hear everyone’s comments about The Customer Equality Paradox.

What is your thought on Customer Equality?
All customers are equally important
Some customers are more important than others
Customers are not important
I'm really what is important
Free polls from
If you showed up late to boarding your plane and could cut in line by using the Red Carpet line would you?
Yes, because I've earned it
Yes, because I've paid for it
Yes, because I'm important
No, I should have been there on time
No, I think it's rude
No, I'd feel bad
Free polls from


|| davidjay || said...

...It is terribly awkward though. They often don't notice you standing there and then when they do they make this big deal out of it and many are poorly placed so they actually have to backup the main line to let you in.

Kevin Sturm said...

DJ...I totally agree. I've only done it once and they actually ROPED OFF the main line of customers waiting and then made this production out of opening the Red Carpet line and allowing me to board. I felt so bad I haven't done it since.