Who Is Your Customer?


Wild Birds Unlimited Eliminator Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

The other night, I was sitting on our screened porch with a group of friends, catching up and, of course, watching the birds at the feeders outside. One of my friends asked me about a specific feeder that happens to be exclusive to the Wild Birds Unlimited franchise system and how we came up with the design. I told him that it had to be good for the birds, good for our retail customers and good for our franchisees. His reply was “Wow…that is really complicated…Wild Birds Unlimited really has three different sets of customers to keep happy! How do you make that happen?”

It struck me that while most franchise systems don’t have the complication of three customer bases, we all have at least two different and distinct customer bases: our franchisees and the end users of the franchisees’ services… the end consumer. My answer to my friends question was “it really isn’t all that complicated when you make the commitment to be true to the brand and stick to that commitment in all of your decisions”.

Now, just because it isn’t “complicated” doesn’t mean that it isn’t “complex”.

In my opinion, one of the roles of a franchisor is to formulate and deliver easy to implement best practices that benefit the brand. This means, taking my bird feeder conversation as an example, that this new product had to be designed include features and benefits that appealed to all three of our ultimate customer bases. It had to “work for the birds” which meant that the perch sizes, seed flow and squirrel resistant features (in this case) had to be tested and perfected before the release, it had to ”work for the retail customer”, which meant that that it have an appropriate price-point, be visually attractive, fit a specific customer-need and it had to “work for our franchisees”, which meant that it had to have an appropriate margin, be easy to display, fit into our merchandise mix strategy and come with all of the appropriate marketing collateral and staff training materials. It sounds, and is, complex…but it’s not complicated.

The way that we accomplish this goal of serving all of our customers at the same time here at Wild Birds Unlimited is to constantly focus on that umbrella customer-the Wild Birds Unlimited brand- using our Mission of “We Bring People and Nature Together…and we do it with Excellence” as a filter for making all of our decisions. That focus on the brand and all of the customers that the brand serves is the only way to ensure that your brand is sustainable, always growing and exceeding the expectations of all of its customers.

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