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I like the way you do relationships

by on ‎05-03-2011 08:20 AM (1,280 Views)

Do you do business with another company where you know a specific person you contact for products or services for that company? 


It’s common for a company to designate a specific person, a sales person, account manager, or territory manager who is responsible for taking care of you as a customer.  In business interaction language this is often called a one-to-many relationship model where that person may service many customers but as a customer you only have to remember one contact to engage in business with that company. 


As a customer this provides an excellent experience, the personal nature of the relationship ensures continuity and shared understanding. .  It also has the added benefit of “knowing a guy” at that vendor you can recommend and trust a good referred experience.  This type of interaction model lets businesses develop relationships with customers that establish trust and communication which can support high value transactions as well as excellent customer experiences.  That trust is important, because without it a company would need to spend handsomely in brand development and marketing to gain similar customer comfort to support these types of transactions. 


It’s no surprise that this model is favored by small businesses, but I’m surprised at how often I see this in action at businesses of every size.  I personally have single points of contact at several multi-billion dollar companies, even in cases where I’m not necessarily a high dollar value client.  I favor my relationships with these organizations versus relationships I have with brands or transaction oriented companies.  In general I don’t like the idea that my experience with a company is dependent on someone’s ability to create a process that has me excited about my experience after being through a gauntlet of disconnected interactions. 


I shouldn’t be surprised I’m biased this way – Sage ACT! is specifically designed to support businesses who employ a one-to-many interaction model and I’m naturally a big fan of doing business this way.  Sage ACT! has always been designed with this interaction model in mind and it’s fun to watch organizations who value this type of business relationship strategy appreciate that Sage ACT! “Get’s it” when it comes to the unique needs this type of strategy has for a technology solution. 


When I’m contacted by a vendor for work pitching their products I ask, “If I become your customer will I be able to contact you directly for anything I need?”  If the answer is, "Just call our 1-800 number and one of our agents will help you out", I always want to transfer the sales call to a 1-800 number where one of my friendly customer agents can, “politely decline your offer”. 


Perhaps I’ve been hanging around customers who care about their customer experiences too long and I’ve lost my perspective, but it feels good as a customer to “know a guy” at my vendor that I can trust sending my friends to.