Want to Retain Customers? Do What You Do Best!

Play to your strengths. Conventional wisdom says we should work on improving our weaknesses. What a terrible waste of time, talent and opportunity.  Focus on your strengths. Experience the immense satisfaction that comes with being superb at something.

–Gary Lockwood

I recently had a not-so-great experience with a roofing contractor. I have to admit that I was looking for a one-stop-shop because I also needed my home painted and my windows replaced. I didn’t want the headache of dealing with multiple contractors.

There are organizations that have managed to roll-out multiple service or product lines successfully. Many don’t do this well.

I should have known better.

They were marketing themselves, first and foremost, as roofing contractors. They did a great job on my roof. The project manager came to my home to let me choose the roof color. He even recommended I go with an upgraded roof that would hold up under our Colorado hail storms; a choice that would also save me 20% on my annual premium.

Nice work!

I have to admit that I was impressed with how the project manager led me through the process of dealing with the insurance company and completing the work on my roof in the exact amount of time he originally promised.

You are probably wondering, is there a problem here? Well, up to this point, there was no problem at all. It was when he began acting as a general contractor for my windows, window well covers, and exterior paint that things started to go downhill. He must have promised me on five separate occasions that he would make sure my window well covers would be installed. Additionally, he told me, upfront, that it might take 6 weeks before getting my new windows delivered and then installed.

I was okay with that.

What I was not alright with is the fact that his roofing company chose to do business with a window company that was not properly capitalized. When eight weeks passed and we were well passed the original 6-week promise, I received a call from the roofing company owner that the window company representative called him and told him to meet him to pickup their deposit money and that they would not deliver our windows at all.


The owner acted horrified and sincerely apologized. He went on to ask what my family liked to eat and that he would be delivering a gift card to us to go to dinner “on him.” He promised that he would contract with a “much more reputable” window company and apologized repeatedly. I wanted to believe things were going to be different. I agreed to wait for the windows a second time.

So, the wait continued. Many weeks later, they still had not installed the window well covers or the 13 windows. In fact, I had to reach out to the project manager to inquire. Not a word. Weeks later, while we were not home, the project manager brought a field technician to our home to install the window well covers.

My husband was very surprised to see them in our driveway and back yard without any notice to us. Now, I tend to be someone who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt. I may even let people off the hook a little more than most, but this time, I had it! This was the 4th time that I had to call him to ask him to provide us advanced notice when someone would be at our home. Again, he failed to provide such notice.

In the end, I thanked the project manager for the great work and service he provided on the roof but advised him to tell the owners to do what they do best and to not try to make a buck at the expense of their reputation. I was very clear. I would recommend them for their roofing capabilities and nothing more. I chose not to move forward with any other services.

My final interactions with them left a bad taste in my mouth. If they would have just stuck to what they do well, I would be a raving fan. Unfortunately, for them, I will probably not mention them at all to anyone I know. Still waiting for the gift card to our favorite neighborhood restaurant. I suspect I will never see that either.

My message to any organization looking to keep engaged and happy customers, DO WHAT YOU DO BEST! Do not try to be the “jack of all trades.” Leverage your strengths. You will create raving fans in the process and realize what it means to be superb at something!

Thank you for reading this article. I hope that it resonates with you in some way. If you think it might help someone, please do Share it. I would love to hear stories from you as well about similar situations or ones that ended well.


Heather Younger
Heather Younger
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator, and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through the implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit the Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization's dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at EmployeFanatix, as well as articles in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos, and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, and Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

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  1. “Interesting article! Retaining customers is very essential since they act as referrals and can help in acquiring new customers and, therefore, providing a world-class customer experience must be given topmost priority by every organization. I had recently visited some similar blogs and came to know that AI is being implemented in the customer service field to improve overall customer experience in real time, which in turn will help in retaining customers. Have a look at the links.

  2. Heather: We’ve seen a lot of this in Panama City since the cat 5 hurricane last year. Companies that were adept at one thing, trying to jump into unrelated fields to grab all the money they could in the mad scramble by homeowners to get things fixed.

    It isn’t unique to a crisis situation of course, as you point out. In the mad dash to keep a company growing it is very common to branch out into other fields of endeavor. There is something to be said though for doing what you do well and let that fuel growth.