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Managing the New Customer Relationship: Strategies to Engage the Social Customer and Build Lasting Value by Ian H. Gordon

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Chapter 2

Strategies for Better Customer Relationships

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized.”

—Daniel H. Burnham (1846–1912), in Daniel H. Burnham: Architect, Planner of Cities by Charles Moore

This chapter considers how well positioned a company is at present to develop relationships with its customers and, through a process of self-questioning, suggests possible areas for improvement. The next chapter discusses the planning of relationships with existing customers. The focus here is on the organization as a whole and whether the company is ready to achieve competitively superior stakeholder relationships.

A Strategic Context for Relationship Management

Relationships don't just happen, of course. Plans are needed to advance relationships with chosen customers and potential customers, and preparation needs to precede planning. A number of authors have considered what it means to be prepared for relationship management. Some have suggested that companies that are able to identify their customers, differentiate them by need and value, and have the potential to interact with each customer uniquely as an individual, while changing aspects of their products or services to serve individual customers, would provide some evidence of preparation.1 While appropriately addressing issues such as these would suggest that a company is indeed prepared to launch a relationship management strategy, the starting point for relationship ...

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