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Move From Customer Transactions to Customer Relationships

By: Ray Modad

jcomp / stock.adobe.com

Many businesses make the mistake of dealing with customers only on a transactional basis. It is amazing how much better the outcomes are when both parties seek to form a true business relationship rather than deal with one another on a purely transactional basis.

##The Downside of Customer Transactions

A transaction is a one-time instance of buying and selling. It’s simply a business deal. Once the deal is done, you may not hear from that customer again, not until they’re ready for another transaction - that’s if they haven’t built a relationship with a company who values them beyond a single transaction.

It’s easy to think of customers in terms of transactions, especially when company leadership encourages focus on the numbers and the bottom line. The transaction mentality looks for short-term fixes, immediate solutions, and rushes to get things done, just for the sake of saving time or money. Transactions done for the sake of making the numbers, ironically often end up wasting both.

Transactions do not give each side the ability to give their full contribution. Transactions do not have much concern for the future. The CEO selling off his most viable business unit to make the numbers look good for this quarter, and secure his bonus. Transactions ultimately undercut the value of the enterprise. Stakeholders (Investors, Employees, Customers, The Public) suffer at the hands of a transaction mindset.

##The Benefit of Building Strong Customer Relationships

The relationship seeks long-term mutual benefits and a win-win partnership. The relationship grows stronger with time, and enables both sides to continually contribute value. The relationship may need to make sacrifices now, so massive benefits can be gained later.

The relationship is taking a concession to bring in a new customer. The relationship mentality is taking the extra time and care to understand the real issues. The relationship will be there to uncover opportunities to capitalize on. The relationship is ultimately more fulfilling, personally, professionally and economically.

Cultivating customer relationships is an ongoing process. Allow customers to contact you on the channels that work best for them. For example, customers can connect with HealPay via our website, email, phone, or any of our social media channels - LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. We know that customers expect the same level of service no matter which channel they engage with so we use insights and customer feedback to provide personalized communications on each channel.

Building genuine customer relationships allows you to gain insights into the things that matter most to your customers, in turn allowing you to offer better products and services.

Consumers are increasingly expecting personalized products, services, and communications from the companies they do business with. The best way to provide this personalized service? Building relationships. Asking for feedback, continuously gathering data, and making smart decisions based on this data allows businesses to provide personalized services to their customers.

Companies that want to build stronger businesses have to move away from the traditional model of focusing on transactions. We have to continuously seek to build strong customer relationships. The focus on deeply understanding customers and personalizing communications and solutions results in a loyal customer base who choose to do business with you instead of the competition.

Don’t seek to merely do transactions. Seek to build relationships.