Relationship Marketing’s 5th Principle — Relationships at Risk

by James on June 15, 2009

Relationship at RiskYour best customers often represent 110% or more of your profitability. They are your lifeblood. But, they are often taken for granted. The fifth of the five Relationship Marketing Principles is, “The second most crucial time is when the relationship is at risk.”

There was a DirecTV dish on our house we moved to California. Since I haven’t met technology I don’t like, we became customers. They sent a nice welcome package and were very helpful during setup. At a functional level it was all good.

After some time DirecTV started sending direct mail telling me what an important customer I was. Nice words but nothing tangible.

The satellite dish was attached to our cedar shake roof, not a stable foundation, and winter storms kept blowing it out of alignment, which caused reception problems. They sent a service representative who I suspected was a sub contractor. He attempted to rectify the problem but the next storm blew the dish out of alignment again. They couldn’t come back for a week. I got out my ladder and tried to fix it myself. This didn’t work. I wasn’t happy. The relationship was at risk.

No effort was made by DirecTV to follow up on either of the service requests or to make sure my concerns were addressed. Apparently being one of their best customers didn’t mean much. The service sub contractor probably knew what the real problem was, and how to fix it, but I expect his compensation was predicated on making as many calls as possible each day. He had no incentive to take the time to really fix the problem. No one told him about the first Relationship Marketing Principle: Good customers expect to be rewarded.

We switched to Comcast.

Hip Shots

  • If one of your best customers is at risk do something tangible to address their concern, to ensure they are satisfied with the resolution and to make sure they know how much you value their business. Follow up to be sure the issue was resolved to their satisfaction.
  • Don’t assume the relationship has returned to what it was before. The customer’s interest has been heightened, they are now more aware of what you say and do and more aware of what your competitors say and do. You need to rebuild the connection with this best customer.
  • Review all five relationship marketing principles. Identify who your best customers are and make sure they stay with you. They want to, all you have to do is show them you want them to stay too.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Waldron June 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Roberta Rosenberg June 17, 2009 at 5:35 am

“Dollars to find ‘em, pennies to keep ‘em.” Simple concept that absolutely works every time. Make every customer feel acknowledged and attended to with tangibles. That’s what loyalty AND WOM are built on.

Roberta Rosenberg´s last blog post..What’s Your “Google Quotient?” Calculate your GQ Star Power!

James June 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

So true Roberta, and so often lost among the flashy new things. James

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