For too long, the agricultural community has been referring to our customers as consumers. I often feel that it comes across as demeaning and inhuman; an air of superiority.
What would happen if we dropped the attitude, killed the lectures and stopped the “I’m right, you’re wrong, accept it” attitude.
Extend your hand, open your minds and hearts and treat your customers as equals.
It is time for agriculture to take a page from basic business principles and treat consumers like customers. Rule number one: the customer is right. Rule number two, if the customer is wrong, see rule number one.
Bottom line, whether we sell directly to the final customer or are merely the first in a series, it is our responsibility to make sure the customer is happy. If they are not happy, we lose a customer or many customers.
Yes, this means calling out the ‘bad apples!’ We need to pull our heads out of the sand, stop looking the other way and ignoring what we know to be wrong and harmful.
Yes, this might be our neighbor, the auction yard we sell to, the stocker who buys our calves, the cattleman who buys our replacements….
Many have said, I included, that those “undercover videos” are the minority, one bad apple, not the norm. I do not know about you, but I have seen enough. We must, together, stand up for what is right and start calling out the bad actors ourselves, or what we say is merely lip service.
We can no longer stand on the argument, “we’ve always done it that way.”
Change is healthy. Change is good. We can always find ways to improve and must when it leads to a happy and satisfied customer.
“The customer is king.” via Mike Haley
Now, it is also very important to be able to recognize the difference between a customer and an “agtagonist,” agricultural antagonist.
Agtagonists can be individuals, groups or organizations operating to “serve the needs” of their membership. Agtagonists have no desire to be your customer, even if you meet their demands. They are like the kidnapper who never intends to return the victim, even if the ransom is paid.
It is critical that you cultivate trusting relationships with all of your customers. If you have nurtured loyal customers, they will stand shoulder to shoulder with you when the agtagonists are knocking on your door.