Is Your Customer Your Hero?

Do you admire your customers? Years ago, I was visiting a friend who owned a small business. Our conversation was interrupted by a customer. After the customer left, my friend muttered under his breath: “Cheapskate.”

Many of my friend’s customers were looking for a bargain – in fact, his business marketed itself as friendly to bargain-hunters – and yet, at bottom, my friend didn’t like working with his customers.

I recently had a chance to visit Finland, where I produced* a video showing how one of our company’s customers is bringing clean energy to the north of Finland. I’m a fan of renewable energy, but my heroes are the people who are building and operating wind parks.

Our customer treated me like family during the long day of work on the video. One of the technicians told me proudly about his wife, who also works in the wind industry. They took me on an elevator ride up to the top of one of their wind turbines (the turbine is so tall that it took around 5 minutes to get to the top!)

I don’t know if there is any quantitative evidence connecting success with admiring your customers. Certainly I didn’t have to pretend to be enthusiastic – it came across as sincere because it is. The most successful business owners I know treat their customers like kings and queens because that’s how they view them.

Are you honored to be helping your customers achieve their goals? Is your customer your hero?

*By “produced” I mean: I hired the production company that did most of the great work, and generally got in their way while they were filming.


Where’s the Turkey?

Overheard in a coffee shop today: “I took the turkey sandwich back to my desk, opened it up, and there was no turkey.”

You may have a similar story, but we hope it’s not about putting up a wind turbine in your community and not having wind. We have heard people say “This turbine will stand as a symbol of… ” or “Imagine visitors pulling into our community and the first thing they see is…”

We have even heard the phrase “boutique wind turbine” used as a compliment. We humbly submit that the purpose of wind turbines is to reduce our carbon footprint by generating electricity through wind. We have even heard stories that some people do not like the way turbines look. We think they’re beautiful, but we want them to be productive.

A responsible wind study is the only way to ensure that the turbine your community wants to put up will actually produce power, and not stand as an eyesore on the horizon. The phrase “Measure twice, cut once” is just as true when you’re erecting a $1 million wind turbine as it is when you’ve spent $12 on a few boards and nails for a home improvement project. Sophisticated wind measurement technology and meteorological expertise are now available even to smaller wind developers and community organizations.

So, next time you hear a community leader advocating for a wind turbine in your community, remember that you need turkey to make a turkey sandwich and you need wind to power a wind turbine. It ain’t a win if the blades don’t spin.