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Building a Relationship Based Business

Customer (or buyer) satisfaction has become a key focus for organizations across industries. According to a study by the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, being customer centric means to:

  1. Focus on the right customer for strategic advantage
  2. Look at a customer’s lifetime value
  3. Focus every effort to drive profit through that customer

While that is true from a business perspective and should be the fundamental rule to build a strong customer base, what is often not discussed is the “heart” behind creating a loyal base of customers. As Steve Jobs once said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” While we all like to talk about our organizational strategies and how they make us leaders in the market, quite honestly it is only our customers who make all the difference. The organizational strategies we build should therefore aim to create a better experience for our customers.

Amazon is a front runner in exemplary customer service mainly because its founder is passionate about creating the perfect customer experience. For instance, Jeff Bezos periodically leaves one seat open at the conference table and informs all the attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, “the most important person in the room.”

To build a long lasting customer relationship it is important to create an experience that they are likely to find hard to replace. I can think of four simple rules to follow:

  • Understand the target audience of your customers, their go-to-market strategy and their challenges
  • Focus on building solutions that address all of the above
  • Hire capable people to drive relationships
  • Lastly and most importantly, build relationships and not just a profitability model

96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, they just decide to leave. The way in which organizations create value is the crux of “customer satisfaction.” The business excellence models we drive, the technologies and services we provide should be centered on two key aspects-

  • Retaining the customers who’ve been loyal and instrumental in building the brand that we are. And
  • Building a strong base of “good” customers, ones who like our services enough to stand by us.

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