“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”
This familiar wisdom is attributed to a Chinese proverb, but it’s also a principle at the heart of many international charities working in the developing world as they empower local people to learn new skills and become self-sufficient.
And of course, it’s effectively what we do as parents. We nurture our children through education and by example for around 18 years and then we encourage them to fly the nest and go it alone.
We take exactly the same approach with our clients – although the process is somewhat quicker!
Watch them fly!
Most companies try to hang on to clients for as long as they can. But we do things differently at Castlight. We want them to be able to go solo as soon as possible. We like to nudge them out of the nest and watch them fly!
For us, a successful client relationship is when one of our customers that we have been working closely with for a number of months, doesn’t need us any more.
However, it’s often a bittersweet milestone as we will have spent a lot of time together. We will have co-created systems and solutions, shared ideas and strategies and ultimately built something innovative and uniquely ground-breaking to move their business forward.
But what we have co-created belongs to the client. It has been uniquely co-crafted for the needs of a single client and designed for self-sufficiency.
We’ve built in our own obsolescence – once we are confident that everything is working smoothly and that training and support systems are in place, we step back. And our client integrates the new solutions into their business model and runs with it.
We may perhaps hover a little, just to be sure everything is ok. But then, when we see the product or solution we have co-created making a real difference to their business, we let them go.
It’s a whole new customer dynamic in the world of affordability. We are re-shaping the way people do business and our customers tell us they like it. They like the process of co-creation. And they value the environment of trust – the sense that we want to stop the invoices as much as they do.
However, once a parent, always a parent. Our offspring continue to need us at different stages in life, long after they are 18. And it’s the same with our clients. We hope they will come back to us when they need further support or solutions in the future. And like good parents, we will be there for them.