Old Arthur that ran the corner store in the 1960s had never heard of Customer Relationship Management. In fact, if you had asked him what it was he’d have thought you had gone a bit loopy.
But Arthur had a great advantage over many businesses of today, he KNEW his customers. OK, he might not have known where they were in various demographics or market studies. But he KNEW them.
He knew what type of bread the family used and how often they bought it. He knew all their names. He knew the kids’ birthdays. In fact, he knew all about his customers and they all loved him for it.
So 50 years later you’d think that with all the technology available to us (including Customer Relationship Management – CRM – systems) we’d have it all over old Arthur when it comes to managing our business relationships.
In our experience we’ve never had so much information about our customers as we do today, but at the same time we’ve never known so little about them! To the extent that we think old Arthur would have it all over us in managing customer relationships. Before you start questionning my heritage, let me explain.
As we’ve said there is now more information available about businesses and people than ever before. Websites, blogs, other social media, public profiles and the like. Yet we believe that old Arthur’s approach would be better! Why is that?
It’s all about relationships. The world we live in today is fast paced and frantic; we’re busy and short of time. Building relationships seems like a nice to have rather than a must have. And we can build relationships through social media when we have a minute on the train or bus, can’t we?
Yet people buy from people that they know and trust. People that are open and honest with them. People with whom they have a good relationship! You can meet people over social media but it’s very hard to build strong relationships with them.
Take the time to get to know your customers. Yes understand their businesses and their needs but work hard to build relationships with them personally. Treat them like people that you really want to work with, not like numbers. You might be surprised at the difference it makes!