How to Forge Stronger Customer Relationships

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It has been said we don’t know the worth of water until the well is dry. Anyone who’s been truly thirsty would agree, but few of us fear losing access to water. Contemplate instead, something that likely hits closer to home, the fear of losing customers -- your customers. Imagine doing without them for a mere 90 days. The danger is that we tend not to consider this possibility until it is too late.

The resiliency of strong relationships cannot be taken for granted, particularly true with customer relationships, which are often vulnerable and almost always the target of competitors. And yet, if we’re being honest, we are too presumptuous, not to mention complacent, about the sustainability of relationships with customers and clients. Before you shake your head in denial, consider your own actions from the perspective of your clientele.

Meaningful business comes from meaningful relationships. Always has. Always will. How others perceive you results in the permission you are given. Yes, permission. You are granted or denied the permission to develop, strengthen and maintain your business relationships. And beyond that perception, the reality of competitive pressure is ever-present. The challenge is distinguishing yourself from your competition.

How can you strengthen the sinews of your business relationships to achieve sustainability and ultimately success? How can you distinguish yourself in the market? One of the most proven means is to understand what common interests you have with each customer on whose business your success depends. But it goes further than that. Each customer with whom you do business is in some manner crucial to the success of your business. You need a way to record, store, and recall, at a moment’s notice, their personal information.

Avoid the trap of “relational voyeurism.” Don’t just observe your customers through the likes of Facebook, commendations on LinkedIn or retweets on Twitter. Why? Your competition has access to that same information. If that is your only source of information, you will fail to distinguish yourself from your competition in the minds of your clientele. Instead, develop genuine bonds with them based on trust by remembering and acting on information others extend to you, and you alone.

Conversely, avoid the trap of merely “managing” your relationships. Instead, focus on enhancing the health of each relationship. By doing so, you will gain a truly competitive edge. After all, there is no traffic jam on the extra mile.

Mike Muhney is the co-inventor of ACT!, the catalyst for today’s CRM Industry. Today, he is the CEO & co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creators of mobile relationship management apps for iPhone and iPad. Visit

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