Companies often assert that they want deeper customer relationships. If you have worked in an organization that has made this claim, or if you have made it yourself… Pause for a moment.
Before you start work on deepening customer relationships, consider 3 dimensions that make personal relationships (e.g. relationships between spouses, parent-child, or co-workers) succeed and thrive.
- Mutual respect – It is not uncommon to encounter situations where one person believes they are more important to the relationship than the other. In business, this manifests itself as leverage. Since you need me more than I need you, I get to dictate the terms of our relationship. (At this point it ceases to be a relationship and becomes more like extortion.)
- Honesty and trust – No two people have the same viewpoint. No two organizations will either. One way they bridge the differences is through communication that allows each to speak and be heard.
- Shared purpose – If one person wants one thing and the other wants something else, it is difficult to imagine a successful outcome. This does not mean that people share all purposes, but that there is some goal that is worthy of both their efforts.
Now think of how your customers experience these dimensions when dealing with your business.
Perhaps I oversimplify but my experience has been that good business practices start with good people practices. The pivot point is to align your business to meet the very human needs in a relationship. When you work towards common goals with mutual respect, honesty, trust and a shared purpose, customers benefit. And so will your business.
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