Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell had it right! For value to customers, nothing beats personal relationships (Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing).
I got your picture hangin’ on the wall
It can’t see or come to me when I call your name
I realize it’s just a picture in a frame
I read your letters when you’re not near
But they don’t move me
And they don’t groove me like when I hear
Your sweet voice whispering in my ear
We’ve all heard the preamble, “get on top of this… the customer knows the CEO.” That same level of urgency is rare when the relationship is only through email exchanges. That’s because when we have a personal relationship we take a vested interest in actions taken, commitments made, and commitments kept. Once we establish relationships with our clients several positive things happen. We:
- Own the account in a different way because our personal reputation is at stake
- Empathize and see things through the customer’s eyes
- Become part of the customer’s team (even while we represent company interests)
Just like other interpersonal relationships, those with our customers require constant attention. The pivot point is that our visible presence demonstrates we (1) care, (2) are continually engaged, and (3) are available to assist customers achieve their goals.
What can you do today (within ethics/budget guidelines of course) to ensure you’re movin’ and groovin’ your customers?