In business we say we want deeper customer relationships and in a previous post I suggested ways to develop these relationships.  What we do is quite different.  Many companies drive a wedge between customer and supplier, which actually destabilizes and undermines otherwise valuable relationships.

chips

We:

  • Fail to respect the customer when our sales process assumes that we know what a customer is trying to achieve.  Does your sales process match a customer’s goals, needs and objectives with your products and services? Or is your team more likely to take control of the situation and pitch your product before you fully understand your customers’ needs?
  • Erode trust through ironclad contracts.  Contracts have good intentions at their core (or so my attorney friends tell me) but the fact is, these devices presume the worst from the relationship.  It isn’t supposed to be that way, but face it, that’s where the bad taste around “small print” comes from.  The small print is the language that ensures companies come out on top. Do your contracts inspire confidence and trust through clarity or do they sow seeds of doubt with excessive “small print?”
  • Work at cross-purposes when the metrics that matter to us, are meaningless to our customers.  Think about it, when customers call your technical support or customer care organizations are the people they interact with working towards the customer’s goals, or internal metrics that don’t matter to your customers?

Each of these “normal” behaviors chips away at mutual respect and trust and creates an ever-widening gap.  Consider the pivot point – your existing processes may be quietly subverting your efforts to build relationships.  As you work towards deepening your customer relationships eliminate the sore spots first.

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When to Stop Advocating for the Customer
3 Dimensions of Healthy Customer Relationships
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