CRM: What Forms a Strong Customer Relationship?

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Customer Relationship Management CRM > Best Practices > CRM: What Forms a Strong Customer Relationship?

CRM: What Forms a Strong Customer Relationship?
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Of course a vital relationship between customer and company is critical for CRM to be efficient. But what forms a strong relationship? The answer on this question is not always clear. Nguyen and Mutum mention four essential factors important in pertaining a strong customer relationship:
1.Trust and commitment: Trust means feeling secure by believing in positive and beneficial intentions of parties involved. Therefore, trust is positively related to satisfaction and loyalty. Besides, trust is an important component of commitment which also increases satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Satisfaction: there exist a positive relationship between satisfaction and loyalty; satisfied clients are more likely to maintain a good relation. Furthermore, since a relationship’s duration is dependent on a clients subjective evaluation of this relationship, satisfaction increases the duration of a relationship as well.
3. Symmetry and independence: symmetry means to what extend the members of the relationship are equal. The more asymmetric a relation, the more likely conflicts will develop and thus the less stable the relationship. Furthermore, the more dependent one party is on the other party, the less symmetric and thus the less stable a relationship.
4. Fairness: research has shown that fairness in a relationship improves the quality. It is essential to develop projects and methods which are considered to be fair by the members of the relationship, in order to maintain a good relation.
Source: Nguyen, B. And D. S. Mutum. (1995). A Review of Customer Relationship Management: Successes, Advances, Pitfalls and Futures. Oxford Brookes Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK, and Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

One more Factor to Create A Strong Customer Relationship
Mohammed Rahim Ullah, Financial Consultant, Bangladesh, Member
Have a CRM Practice for customer equity building / relationship banking. If you want to ensure customer equity, you need to obviously have a Customer Relationship Management practice.

Factors for a Strong Customer Relationship
Richard Ahumibe, Student (University), United Kingdom, Member
Keeping our promises to our customers (nothing binds like a promise kept) and giving extra support to our customers when they are in need (loyalty earned by rendering critical help always endures) are the strongest factors for customer relationship.

When will Customer Relationship be Strong? If there are Mutual Benefits and 2-way Communication
Orane Farquharson, Project Manager, Canada, Member
From a sociological perspective, the ability to create a mutually beneficial scenario. Customers can witness this on a consistent basis even when the transactions do not involve them directly as a party.
Also a customer can have an interactive position with a brand, product or service to deliver a vote on its utility or viability by the purchasing method or the actual feedback.
Surely communication is key.

How to Form a Strong Customer Relationship: Voice of Customer and HR
Praneet Varma, Manager, Indonesia, Member
To add, ask customers what they want and how can we make things better.
The quality must keep increasing constantly and a good understanding of the voice of the customer is important. Also every customer is different and has different needs. Hence customised service plays major role in future.
Employees are key and they make the difference. Satisfied employees create satisfied customers. We need to invest in best HR practices to indirectly improve the customer relations.

Building a Strong Customer Relationship: The Role of Consistency
Marcel Wiedenbrugge, Consultant, Netherlands, Member
As part of 2. Satisfaction, it's important to have consistency and we should be managing expectations in a consistent way.
That is one of the main reasons why companies like Starbucks and McDonalds have grown so big.

Balancing Internal and External Customers
Mohamad Nasir Mahmood, Director, Malaysia, Member
There are two kinds of customers:
- external customers - those who pay and receive the products or services rendered, the lifeline, and
- internal customers - the staff, the backbone.
Strike a happy balance in managing the two, and (CRM) success shall loom large.

When will a Customer Relationship be Strong? Customer-Orientation and Sincerity
Naomi Elisabeth, Indonesia, Member
When we focus on the customer and we put ourselves in their shoes, we will be able to understand and consider what they need, concern about, and what will satisfy them. And surely every customer is different. The second thing is sincerity, it will change everything.

CRM: what Forms a Strong Customer Relationship?
PK Lim CMC, PMC, Management Consultant, Singapore, Member
Having an actual relationship is # 1. Next is you are always there to listen and provide solutions when the customer needs you.

How to Build a Strong Relationship: Communication to Customers
Musyoki Muli, Director, Kenya, Member
@Orane Farquharson : I agree that communication that updates the customer on upswings and downswings makes them feel valued and part of your business. At no time should this stop.

Creating Strong Customer Relations by Scheduling Appointments
remo ram mero, Financial Consultant, Saudi Arabia, Member
@Lim Poh Khai : I agree on the practical side, creating and scheduling appointments with customers should be a central activity of most customer oriented businesses. Sales, customer support, and service personnel must spend a portion of their time to regularly get in touch with customers and prospects through a variety of means.

What Forms a Strong Customer Relationship: Deliver what your Customers Value
Stephan Weber, Business Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Create the right value: identify and deliver what is important to your customer. From experience I know that sometimes organisations are so focused on doing things THEY percieve as valuable, rather than delivering on what their CUSTOMERS percieve as 'value'.
How do you create such customer value?
1. Identiy and decide on your target market
2. Understand their service values and need
3. Create and delivery a strategy to provide your customers' value
4. Ensure all colleagues (especially leadership) are engaged and committed to the strategy
5. Regularly review points 1-4.

Providing Status to the Customer
P. ter Horst, Strategy Consultant, Chile, Member
The four principles mentioned by Anneke are valid, but none of them seems to be as relevant as the customer's status gained by obtaining certain products.
Apple's last iPhone wasn't perfect at its introduction date. Nevertheless, people do almost everything to obtain this product: for the status it provides!
Thus, Apple at present day obtains customer relationships through the status it's product provides, even though this seems contradictory to the mentioned importance of "trust and commitment" and "symmetry and independence".
And at the same time, it's making "satisfaction" more relevant, even if the satisfaction only exists in customers' minds, because the truth is that Apple latest iPhone didn't provide such "satisfaction" at it's introduction!
Thus, making "status" an almost invincible aspect which, if obtained by the producer/seller, might prove to be the most relevant aspect of all! People seem to accept flaws in products if they think it gives them "status" in any case...

The Role of Status in Forming a Strong Customer Relationship
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@P. ter Horst: thanks for your thought provoking reaction. I believe you are right to say that it is the subjective satisfaction which matters, not if a product is actually good or not in an objective sense.
Regarding your remark on status, when we assume that this is what certain customers are looking for, if they get it by buying a particular product, then doing so will provide them satisfaction.
So in my opinion, providing status is just one way of providing satisfaction. Even if its an important one for certain customers in certain markets.

What Forms a Strong Customer Relationship is Different in B2B and B2C
Marcel Wiedenbrugge, Consultant, Netherlands, Member
I like to make a distinction between B2C and B2B:
- In B2C, status, as Ter Horst mentions can be more dominant.
- In B2B imho trust and performance (both ways) are the most important elements in a customer relationship. So in B2B, status can be replaced by words such as reliability, consistency, flexibility.

Achieving a Strong Customer Realationship also Requires Sharing the Mind of the Customer
Dr. Sapna Dadwal, Professor, India, Member
Apart from the above points I think sharing the mind of the customer and creating the value each customer wants are also important for organization, and are also one of the basics of having a strong customer relationship.

Associations and Experience are Two Main Themes of CRM as a strategy
Mary Grace Mabunga, Student (MBA), United Kingdom, Member
@P. Ter Horst: Based on my research, company's are associated with different expectations. These expectations provide value to the customer. As opposed to the quality performance of Apple's iPhone as mention above, also good experiences of clients of Apple for previous products and services result in customer satisfaction, thus fulfilling their brand promises which makes them retain customers and enjoy advantages over other competitors.

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