Customer Relationship is the cumulative experiences a business develops with its customer(s). A business must give importance to good positive experiences to its customers at every stage of the relationship or at any time the customer is in contact with the business for any specific requirement such as a fresh purchase or a service requirement. Customer relationship comes in to play the second a customer is in contact with the business, whether the customer is new or an existing one. Customer relationship comes in to play across all stages – from presales to post sales in the business process. Good customer relationships lead to overall business satisfaction for the customers as well as for the business personnel’s.
Customer relationship is different from customer service, the former defines the entirety of the experiences, but the latter is more related to the specific experiences. Repeated good customer service leads to good customer relationships. And any single instance of poor customer service can lead to the relationship deteriorating. Businesses need to understand that just as every customer is different, businesses need to develop and maintain personalised customer relationships. Having fixed protocols of customer relationships, makes it is easy for the business, but can be difficult for certain customers, which may lead to the customer either exiting the relationship or not pursuing any upgradation or additional business services, ultimately harming the business itself as they end up either losing the customer or loosing the opportunity of generating more business from that customer.
Customer relationship is a combination of the head and the heart at play. Often businesses may portray that, but ultimately the customers are intelligent enough to figure if it really is the same as what is being portrayed. Often it is the responsibility of the head of the business to portray the combination of the head and the heart in practicing good customer relationship, so that the same practices are adhered by all other personnel’s across the organisation.
All of the above thoughts are a result of my recent experiences with a couple of companies in the banking sector. With company one I had established a strong relationship pre covid-19 pandemic, and with company two the relationship developed during the covid-19 and post the pandemic. In spite of the covid-19 pandemic my relationships with both the companies remained strong and became stronger.
Recently, at company one there were changes in personnel due to routine transfers of managers over a period of time. With the new management not gauging the customer relationship yet, I was forced to connect with the old management which still went beyond the way in helping me avail more services, but with the organisational bureaucracy I guess, they could not close the deal themselves, and the new management also did not seem to extend efforts to close the deal with already existing customer.
With company two my interactions became more frequent due to the accessibility with the business and its services during the covid-19 pandemic. When it came to avail some extra services, they were more proactive in extending good efforts to provide us the additional services thereby generating more business for themselves. However, they got it wrong in terms of handling the deal. Assigning freshers to handle the deal, promising a lot verbally and delivering surprises on paper, hustling to close the deal but not considering wholistically and rightly.
I continue to do the regular business with these companies, but they lose the opportunity to generate more business for themselves from me. Businesses need to be more dynamic in the way they handle customers. While they need to have ground rules which everyone adheres to in managing the business, it is also important to be flexible in certain cases. Customer relationships are meant not just for jargon, but also for actually developing the business and the relationship.