You know YOUR customers. You know their demographics, maybe even their psychographics. You know their shopping habits. You know their likes and dislikes. You talk about YOUR customers lovingly.
But they aren't YOURS. Even the evangelists.
Yes, they support you. Yes, they spread the word about you. Yes, they defend your good name.
Yes, they bought something you sell from somewhere else. You know that, right? You've done it yourself. It was something you needed and it was convenient, or cheaper, or you needed it right away so you bought it from a different store than the one you usually support.
Customers are like that. Fickle. Changing. Or more likely, Practical.
You don't own any customers. If anything, they own you. They decide if you live or die. They decide if you are worth the hassle to visit, to spend money with, to promote to others.
They own you. And they can swap you for another store in a heartbeat.
Kinda changes the equation, doesn't it? What would you do differently in terms of Customer Service for the owner walked through the front door than you would for just some regular old customer? Would you treat the owner better? Would you court the owner harder, hoping the owner keeps you?
You don't own your customers, they own you. Treat them accordingly.
PS For a great article on how quickly a customer can change click here.