Having been in business for many years has gotten me to read, study, and listen to others for ways to improve our customer experience. With each tidbit of knowledge, I have tried several strategies to build better relationships with our customers. The results have been GREAT at some points and only OK at other points...but they have never been fully what I originally envisioned. This is a creative and challenging part of the marketing process, and as a result, it requires a considerable amount of time and resources. Recently, I recognized many shortcomings in our company's approach, and I think ultimately it was the result of arrogance as well as thinking we really had things figured out. The approach we had for many years was:
“We are the experts at what we do and a trusted resource for your branded products - in some sense, we are the best at what we do!”...or what some would call hubris...
Thankfully, a friend introduced me to a book named “Key Account Management” by ?? which is a great study that can be applied to any business. One huge takeaway for me was answering the question “Do your customers consider you a key supplier?” I had to really take a hard look, and the answer came back NO! Of course, when I recovered from that answer, it allowed me to evaluate the reasons why I answered NO. When you break this question down and look at all parts of your business, you will find that how you do invoicing or shipping has an impact on your customer relationships. What lies next are hopefully some nuggets of wisdom that you can use sooner than later to further develop your key account partnerships. It will take more than one article to develop these concepts, so hold on tight! Also, we need your help as you have much to offer to this subject - my hope is to create a lifelong stroll down this road and see where we end up!
As we travel on this path together, my goal is that Southern Advertising can help generate new ideas and reinforce things you already do. And when it comes to corporate identity and communicating your brand, our focus is that we can come to a deeper understanding of your goals, how you do what you do, strategies, and marketing plans. I am convinced that if we have a better picture of this, we will be able to supply ideas as opposed to just providing the cheapest pen or mug .. we WANT to do this and are PREPARED to do this!!
Along with ideas, we will be offering up experience and would love to start an open dialog with everyone to share what they do to build relationships. We would like to know what others are doing to maintain a great working relationship with current customers OR if these relationships do anything at all. Be honest with each other in an attempt to do better and be the best we can be. We really need to know what drives us, as well as our customers, what is stressing them out, and how we can help in those areas.