Managing Customer Relationships

Many companies try to avoid the reality that they must be actively managing customer relationships. The truth is that we must do this. I touched on this a little in a previous blog post, Are You Delivering Value?. A large part of that post was devoted to the idea that we must determine exactly what it is that we are selling.

What Must Be Considered?

Picking up on the thoughts in the blog referred to above, we will find that what we are really selling is not a product or service, but s solution, convenience, a way a customer can realize personal values, ease in life style, or something else. At one time I worked for a company whose motto was, “Our Only Product is Peace of Mind.” Whether or not that was a good motto is not the point, but rather that it was an attempt to identify with the customers’ real wants and needs.

Some Things to Consider

In order to get to the bottom of identifying what we are really selling, we might consider how we deliver a product or service. That is, what channels, product or service lines, etc are we using to satisfy customers’ needs and wants? By breaking it down this way and asking the right questions, we can begin to understand our customers better and use this understanding in managing customer relationships.

Have a Plan

There are numerous ways we stay in touch with customers. It can formal or informal and can range from email to text messages to snail mail to phone conversations to face to face meetings. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Email can be quick and efficient, yet it can really limit feedback. On the other end of the spectrum is the face-to-face meeting. Nothing gives us more feedback from our customers than a face-to-face meeting.

What is the best way to stay in touch with customers may vary by company. Just find which method or combination of methods works best and gives you the information you need. But remember this general rule, “The more technologically advanced a communication method, the greater the probability of incomplete communications.

What does your company do when it comes to managing customer relationships? Are you identifying what they really are buying? Have you differentiated by segments or channels? What methods of communicating are you using and would other methods help improve the effectiveness and thoroughness of communications?

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.

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