All too often, you tend to come across phrases that people use and you question the meaning and why they use it. Or is this just me?

I touched on this a little in my blog Nature vs Nurture, and there’s another couple of phrases that crop up from time to time on the topic of how to treat customers:

  • “Treat your customers as though they were your grandmother/mother/father*” (*delete as appropriate)
  • “Treat your customers how you want to be treated”

These are great sayings, and the sentiment is absolutely right.


It’s not that they are necessarily wrong, but for me, if you dig a little deeper, at the core is a fundamental conundrum. They’re fine if your customers are exactly the same as your family member or yourself, but what if they aren’t? Human nature dictates that we’re all different – right?

If we’re all different, should we be treated the same? Or should we receive personalised service based on our own unique preferences?

Here’s a couple of stats:

  • 64% of consumers stated that they want personalised offers from retail brands. [Salesforce]
  • 59% of customers say that personalisation influences their shopping decision [Infosys]
  • 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience [Forrester]

Customers want to be treated as individuals and, as the stats above suggests, they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that do.

So next time you hear someone say “Treat you customers…” pause for a moment and pop the killer question – “why don’t you treat them how they want to be treated?”