A few weeks ago a moviegoer was kicked out of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas after the the customer persisted to text during the movie after two warnings. The movie theatre did a great job of protecting and emphasizing it's core benefit—watch movies without any distractions from other customers. The cinema founder explains:
When we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons. That was the plan. If you can't change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don't want you at our venue. Follow our rules, or get the hell out and don't come back until you can.
How does this apply to your product or business?
- If you have customers who are asking for something you're not the best at, go ahead and point them to a competitor who you know is a better fit. Both you and your customer will be up happier in the end. The CEO of Southwest does an amazing job of turning away customers who ask for something the company cannot accommodate. There are some great examples the CEO of Continental shares in his book: From First to Worst. Zappos does a great job with this, if they don't have something you're looking for they'll spend some time and find a competitor who has what you need.
- Be clear about that core value your product creates for your customers. Don't try to create an app that pleases everyone, don't add features to make customers happy, focus on the core benefit of the product even though you might push some customers away to competitors' products.
- If you're a service provider (be it a cinema or an SEO consultant), be clear about what you're offering and what your customers should expect. If you promise a distraction free movie experience, enforce it! Deliver it! A customer who gets what they were expecting comes back again and again.
If you try to please everyone, you'll hurt many of your customers. If you really love your customers, point them somewhere else if the relationship is not a good fit.