Managing the New Customer—and the New Customer Relationship
“All for one, one for all, that is our device.”
Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870), The Three Muskateers
More than the machinery in the factory, more than inventory in the warehouse, more even than people who work for an enterprise, relationships are yet more valuable. While physical assets are a product of a company's past, derived from the resources that created them, relationships are predictive. Relationships suggest the direction in which a company's value will trend. If relationships depreciate, so will the future value of the company. And if relationships grow in value, there will be a commensurate growth in company value. When a company is about to launch a new product, the relationships it already has with its customers could provide an opportunity for testing. Customers will try products such as these if their relationships have built trust in the company. When there is some kind of problem between the company and its customers, it will be relationships that will get it past the bad times as customers remember the good. Relationships stop the unraveling of valuable business connections. Relationships provide a bridge of continuity and an opportunity for companies to develop ongoing revenues from their customers. More generally, relationships help a company reach its potential. And when a company gets weaker, when its products become older, when its competitive advantage declines, when ...