Ron got my attention with a lovely post on this topic. He has some very thought-provoking points on various facets of building customer relationships. He picks-up a quote from John Gottman who says:
“Good relationships aren’t about clear communication — they’re about small moments of attachment and intimacy.”. He gives an example of a ‘small moment’ that built a relationship with a customer –
An IT executive traces his loyalty to USAA back to a single phone call. He called the firm to cancel a credit card and insurance policy. The rep said “I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries, but we’ve found that many customer often cancel products because of events that aren’t related to USAA like a divorce or other family matter. We’ve set up a special department to help customers with these kinds of matters, is this something we might be able to help you with?” Since he was in the middle of the divorce, he took USAA up on that offer and has been a loyal customer since.
He further writes, Gottman also says that:
“Successful couples look for ways to accentuate the positive. They try to say ‘yes’ as often as possible.”
He writes – Gottman’s comment echoes my sentiment that building a relationship isn’t simply about saying “trust us” but saying (and demonstrating) “we trust you.”
How can one institutionalize this process? – My view:
Companies don’t necessarily disagree with this philosophy but the truth is getting it working in the trenches(in the marketplace across channels) – that’s always the challenge. Companies need to build a robust Customer Interaction Architecture (CIA) that can capture this "pain point’ and ‘enable’ it with tools and triggers to make a difference. I certainly believe every transaction or complaint or query is an opportunity to build a "Small Moment Customer Interaction Architecture (SMCIA)’.
To make this happen, there is a need to increasingly integrate technology with every marketing processes.