Building customer relationships - So 12 seconds ago

I get a kick out of the AT&T ads (examples here and here) showing how the pace of things is so fast that the savvy user of the HTC Vivid with 4G is always informed and ahead of the game.

While the commercials are informative and entertaining, the application makes sense for how customer strategists build better customer relationships.

The most common example that has gotten attention is the way some companies have monitored social media sites to identify customer complaints and quickly address them. In doing so, they salvage a customer relationship and impress consumers with their attention to customer issues.

I prefer to consider uncommon examples, like complex customer relationships in a B-to-B environment. We've seen terrific examples of companies that have closely monitored feedback from surveys that trigger alerts notifying account managers of customers issues that need to be addressed and opportunities to pursue. In one example a company identified more than 5,000 issues that were logged and prioritized for action. What's more, they prompted sales opportunities that delivered more than $200 million in new sales.

This was all done by setting up a system that included the following:

  • Good lists - insights are gathered from the right customers
  • Good design - to incorporate triggers to identify issues, opportunities
  • Good training - account managers understand their role
  • Good buy-in - everybody sees the benefit for them and for the company
  • Good tools - an online documentation system ensures follow up
  • Good measurement - the ROI is measured to validate the payoff
This type of customer strategy also prompts unexpected responses from customers. "I didn't really think anyone would read my comments," they might say. Well, that's the whole idea behind voice-of-the customer strategies - to listen to customers and act upon their insights.


Patrick Gibbons
Principal, SVP
Walker


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