We used to tier our customers.

We would have our tier 1s. Customers so big they would provide us with 25-50x the income of an average customer.

And we’d have our tier 3s. Our bog-standard average-Joe customers. The kind of customer *we* would be, if we were buying products from ourselves.

Tiering customers is a good commercial optimization strategy. It makes sense that you proportion your effort – your ROI – according to the commercial value of your customers.

Therefore naturally, we stopped doing it several years ago.

Logic apparently notwithstanding, it was the right thing to do. Our tier 1s were getting treated like gods and our tier 3s like they hardly existed.

You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Given we don’t have the resources to treat over 1000 customers like gods (sorry, we are mere mortals), how do we square that circle?

We treat our customer relationships with a similar ethos to the UK’s NHS: You pay according to your means but receive according to your needs.

That is to say, if you need some heavenly intervention you’ll get it. But if you’re good, you don’t need our help anyway. Our main focus now is “knowing” who needs help and who doesn’t. And that’s pretty simple:

We ask.

Our new model of managing customers is fairer, more equitable, and means that anyone that needs help will be treated like they were tier 1.

Which is actually rather optimal too, when you think about it.