Every relationship requires maintenance.
Whether it’s a personal or business relationship, that loving feeling can fade if the connection isn’t maintained. And just as in our own lives, distractions get in the way and there are never enough hours in the day to do the work and spread the love to everyone.
In my business, I find it is all too easy to lose contact with clients – especially when I’m engaged on a project by project basis. I know that everyone is busy, so unless I have some important news, I’m not going to call up to chat about the latest sports scandal. After all, that’s just wasting everyone’s time.
However, maintaining a successful relationship is about making that little extra effort to connect. I like to think of it as an R U OK phone call that’s nothing personal (well, it can be) but it is like a little business mental health check. It’s a case of ‘what’s doing your head in today at work?’ I may not be able to help with HR or logistics, but I can provide a sympathetic ear and hopefully some fresh perspective. Sometimes it’s just a different perspective or point of view that can make all the difference to a business problem.
For example, what you believe is your competitive advantage may not be what the customer sees as your advantage. As a marketing agency, no matter how close I am to a client’s business, I can still take an outside/in perspective. Just as we all think our kids are angels, sometimes it takes another’s gentle persuasion to help us realise our sweet little Johnnie can be a right prat. If I see there’s a competitive issue with a client’s product or service; then I can comfortably discuss it when the relationship is open and maintained.
Sadly, I don’t have such close relationships with all my clients, and this means some come and go depending on their whim. This business relationship promiscuity is usually based on chasing the lowest price rather than the best quality. It’s not just me who feels this, it’s a universal business problem, and it is one that is getting worse because of technology.
However, I’m approaching this new post-election era with a glass half full perspective and just like a good politician; I’m going to promise to maintain a much closer relationship with my constituents (clients), listen more to what they want, and make sure we continue to deliver above and beyond.
R U OK? Feel like a catch over a cuppa and a mini raspberry friand? Alternatively, even a drink with a pretty umbrella in it? Get in touch.