Customer Relationships - Finding The Cues

David Grieve

finding the cues about our customer relationships

Whether our customer relationships are strong and already a source of business growth or they are tense or weak, they hold an important key to the future health of our businesses. But are we seeing and hearing the full story?

Are We Aware Of All The Cues About Our Customer Relationships?

So often, as business owners and managers, we concentrate on what is happening at work rather than what is not happening. This is illustrated in the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Adventure of Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Here is a dialogue snippet from the book:

Inspector Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"Sherlock Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."Holmes: "That WAS the curious incident."

The novel’s plot involves the apparent murder of champion horse Silver Blaze’s trainer and the disappearance the racing horse. The people in the house adjacent to the stables heard no sounds on the night of the crime. Holmes concludes correctly that the offender is likely to be someone who lives in the house because the owner’s dog would have barked at the approach of a stranger. Therefore, the ‘dog that didn’t bark’ is an important clue in helping Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery.

So What Is Not Happening In Our Customers' Community?

As this book illustrates, sometimes important clues involve events that did happen, AND sometimes they involve events that did not happen.Too often we concentrate just on events that happen, when they happen. For example, with customers we concentrate on replying to customer’s phone calls and emails. Instead, should we be concentrating on those customers from whom we never hear? Have we already lost them, are we about to loose them? If they are quietly happy with us, how could we turn them into ambassadors for our brand, fueling our business growth?This presents a great opportunity to reconnect with our customers and reinforce the positive experience they are having with service or products or save their business from going to competitors.

6 Tips To Work Smarter

Can we find the less obvious cues to the state of our customer relationships? Can we find the equivalent of "the dog that did not bark"?There are many things you can do, this short list of proven tips may help you get started:

  • Better record and use the internal knowledge already within our business. It is amazing how much information and insights can get lost even in a small organisation due to poor communication and not sharing information!
  • Analyse the data and identify the gaps
  • Plan how we are going to reach and reconnect with our silent market.
  • Decide what we want to know and how we are prepared to act upon that new knowledge.
  • Consider what incentive there may be for those customers to become active again and/or to be our ambassadors.
  • Communicate, communicate internally, work as a team with a project leader and clear accountabilities. If you are on your own, prioritise and consider extra resources to speed up the process and get unbiased insights

Remember, like Sherlock Holmes recognising the cues may give us, managers and business owners, some vital actionable insights to improve our products, services or management itself.If you are too busy, not sure..., ask for help from a professional who takes your success personally.

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