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Relationship Building? Our Customer, Our Friends!

Author joey311
#1 | Posted: 30 Sep 2008 23:52 
Hi everyone

On a previovs topic I posted it was quoted;
"I dare anyone to propose that customer service training is not relevant"

I too deffeiently have to agree to that statment, customer service training is essential, but I ask can such a remark be made for relationship building? At my work relationship building means that businesses try to talk to customers, to encourage them to identify with the product and to make them less likely to switch to a competitor's brand. Increased sales will result....But to me it must mean more than that.

So my question is;

a) Can all organisations, like government departments such as The Taxation Office and Welfare centeres engage in relationship building?
b) What characteristics of a marketed product can affect the success or failure of relationship building campaigns?
c) What [u]costs[/u] and what major benefits are associated with relationship building? (I underlined costs to ask can the cost out weight the benefits? Or should they be investment to reap the rewards?)


Author ayaree
#2 | Posted: 1 Oct 2008 18:15 
Joey, this comes across as PhD Dissertation material. Not sure why there is such a wide scope to the questions you've got.

But I am going to take the High School Diploma route (even though I went past high school), and try to distill this into its constituent parts.

You are defining relationship building as gaining/maintaining customers that buy and stick with a product.

c) The costs associated with this would include advertising messaging, campaigns to add to response level (through whatever medium, channel), possibly event management, data collection, product support. The benefits sought would be some fraction you get when the sales numbers are divided by the number of the total audience. The costs CAN outweigh the benefits because any of the items in my first grocery list could have been poorly thought out, overlooked, not followed through. You can waste resources (time, space, materials, people--money tied to all of them) on an idea and on customers that do nothing for you. What is the customer supposed to understand, what is the customer going to get and when and in what increments, does the customer have to do anything in steps, does the customer know what reward is in store for him aside from the product itself, did the customer get it, did the customer have a place to call and was there knowledge and action at the place he called? If there are a lot of items that don't get a CHECK next to this last grocery list, then you have got a lot of costs/risks that have not been managed, and these will chip away at the benefits.

b) The functionality of the product. Does it work, is it intact, does it look like it should have, did the customer get what he wanted, is there a backup plan for a customer to get any of these if he does not get them immediately?

a) There would be some type of relationship building for Taxation and Welfare offices to engage in with the audience they were dealing with and both of these resource centers would have products. It strikes me that these kinds of resource centers would have differing executive strategies feeding into them, mind you. A customer expectation for one is that the resource centre for Taxation is Take-based. And that the one for Welfare is Give-based. I think this difference in executive strategy would result in a difference in the kind of relationship to build, one being more longlasting than the other (did you guess Taxation?). I would think an objective arching over a Welfare resource center would not look for continued relationships that include excesses to what is allowed to the recipients of funds. There may, however, be mechanisms in place to keep in touch with "customers" (reverse customers in a way) when it comes to outreach programs that are geared toward enabling an emergence from welfare support (like checking in on someone's progress). But that would of course be cost-oriented, and someone very reliable would hopefully be in place to determine whether benefits are emerging - in the sense of previously assisted citizens/funded customers becoming income earners.

And you start out by asking whether customer service training is useful for relationship building. Given the contextual audience you have presented in your questions, we are seeing in all cases a setting where the source of a product (its resource center) is having to deal with members of an audience, and all of these audience members have the potential to be in a deficit situation in the following ways: understanding a message, understanding how to use a product, receiving a defective product, knowing what to do when...., having a place to go when....

I may not have diced up this onion the way any of us needs it, but I haven't arrived at any cases where customer service training (or customer service shapeliness) is useless. I don't see customer service training (or readiness/fitness) as MANDATORY in all cases I have imagined and parsed out for you either. The real need for customer service training (or readiness) depends on the variables of the relationship building. Real needs can exist where imagined needs do not.

Author joshijoshi_naresh
#3 | Posted: 7 Oct 2008 22:50 
Hi!!! Joye311 & Ayaree

Very nice topic.

I just want to say something on this discussion that by means of relationship building we just try to make our customers more & more comfortable. An organisation can provide excellent customer support by assigning customer accounts to its executives & managers.
1). A customer always prefer to interact with a person who understands his problems well & take the best steps to do the needful for him.
2). Also every human has his own mentality which is to be well explored in customer service field. Once executives & managers able to do that then this will automatically turns into Relationship Building.
3). Gifts & rewards also takes this relation ship to new heights.
4). Just a phone call on birthday or aniversary to customer has the power to retain him stick to our services or organisation.
5). As far as the cost & benifit calculations are concerned I will say that there should be guidelines & well defined limits for that.

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 Relationship Building? Our Customer, Our Friends!

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