Rediscover The Differentiating Value Of Strong Customer Relationships
Customers Schmustomers. Curt Rosengren, my "are you passionate about your job enough" conscience sent me a link to a fascinating article written by the Gallop Management Journal (First Break All The Rules, Now Discover Your Strengths, Follow This Path) ... [John Porcaro: mktg&msft]
John Porcaro (works in marketing at Microsoft Corporation) expresses his views on a an article from the Gallop Management Journal called Roadblocks to Customer Engagement (Part I). Porcaro reinforces the importance of strong customer relationships and highlights key mistakes companies make. If you've been a regular reader of Inside Strategic Relations or this weblog, you've probably already got these areas covered. However, here are highlights with my commentary for your review.
Porcaro quotes the original article:
"Marketers are rediscovering that strong customer relationships are essential if companies want to avoid the downward spiral into commodity status that comes from competing on price alone. ..."
Key points for reinforcing strong customer relationships and avoiding key mistakes in relationship building:
- Hire people who naturally contribute to strong customer relationships. It isn't in everyones nature to cultivate relationships, some people are "win-at-all-costs", while others are too shy to make new contacts. Focus on individuals who already have strong interpersonal communications skills, an empathic attitude, and the willingness to help others.
- Cultural changes must be reinforced by talent and effort. Posting banners that emphasize a customer orientated philosophy mean nothing if no action is taken to build relationships. Most companies aren't improving their customer satisfaction because they don't have the talent and aren't taking the efforts necessary. Identify key human talent your company needs, then decide to take one focused action each month.
- Seek solid strategies to improve the skills of your people. Small improvements in individual skills are better than well-executed "customer-centric" programs. Break down implementation obstacles with realistic training designed to helps employees to refocus process on customer objectives first. Target those processes closest to the customer interaction, improving them will create the most measurable improvements.
- Use incentives that move the organization toward customers objectives. Often incentive programs promote individual gain. By rewarding individuals you often create a culture of "working the system" rather than creating real improvement. Focus incentives on group efforts measured by metrics of value to key customer segments.
- Leverage partner resources to extend customer value. When bringing together partners, don't focus so much on technical solutions or even the partner relationship, but rather focus on what this new interaction means to profitable customers. Bring together people that advance your customer relationships and the value customers place in your organization.
/ applying-strategy | customer-relations /
By Justin Hitt at November 14, 2003 1:29 AM
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