There was a book written last year titled "The Paradox of Excellence: How Great Performance Can Kill Your Business." I have not read this book but I have read about it enough to think that I understand its point. I think my business suffers from this on occasion.
The claim is that, when your business does things well, be they technology related, customer service related, quality related, whatever ... you and your customers both take those things for granted over time. Customers start demanding more from you, as well they should, and you strive to give it to them. However, when you mess up in that quest to give them more, they are ready to flush you down the toilet. They can easily switch to another vendor, and train them on all the things you did well but both of you took for granted.
How do you avoid this? Well, I believe that the authors propose that you tactfully and continually remind your customers of the good things you do -- of your key competencies and shining points.
I believe that we are experiencing The Paradox of Excellence right now with at least one of our customers. They are a particularly good account and I appreciate them most for the way they continually challenge us to better ourselves. That is a good thing. However, when we encounter times that we cannot react as quickly as we should or we cannot accomplish some of the things they ask of us, I feel like we're walking on eggshells with them. Now, they are a very loyal customer and they have not dumped us yet but my point is that, when we cannot do the things they would like us to do, I feel like they completely forget about the good things we do, the things that drove them to us in the first place, the things that benefit their business day in and day out. They seem to forget about the uniqueness of our products, the quality of our service, and the integrity with which we approach our relationship.
The question is how do you continually remind them of these things without it seeming self-serving. I suppse I can think of a few ways to do that. But maybe I need to read the book ...