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Relationship Management

One of the key factors in customers remaining loyal is their level of emotional attachment. (Refer to customer loyalty ). Consider those customers that have become old friends, or even members of the family: the higher their emotional attachment to you and your business, the stronger - and more robust - is their loyalty.

The emotional attachment achieved through the strength of your customer relationships is built in many different ways. We have outlined a few examples here:

  • Delivering on promises consistently
  • Social interaction
  • Integrity and building a shared trust
  • Knowing the contact, their needs and wants - and demonstrating an interest in meeting them
  • Instances of problem resolution/disaster recovery
  • Building rapport
  • Responsiveness
  • Interaction frequency.

A good starting point to effectively managing relationships is to identify those areas that increase the strength of relationships in your case. Next, it's important to focus on the most valuable customers/groups to your organisation, and then think about how to accelerate the development of emotional attachment.

It has proved to be extremely helpful to apply measures to this area, which is why Imonic have developed "account strength" indices to enable a consistent approach to be used across separate divisions and even global regions serving the same or different customers. (Refer also to key account planning section).

The strategy implemented to accelerate the development of customer relationships, depends very much on your unique situation. However, one key aspect is to understand how effective your customers' internal communication systems are. Consider the propensity for bad news to filter to the decision makers within your different key customer organisations, where bad news travels at speed and with ease through various offices, divisions etc. the harder robust emotional attachment is to achieve. Choosing where you spend effort and time building relationships is critical in these instances.