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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 3

Planning Relationships with Existing Customers

“ ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.”

Lewis Carroll (1832–1898), Alice in Wonderland

The point has been amply made that relationships are important, that they may be the only assets of the enterprise that really matter and that relationships, more than anything else, are predictive of a company's future performance. It should be clear that anything this important ought to have a plan to drive it; the absence of a relationship plan in many organizations is a fundamental shortcoming that this chapter seeks to remedy by discussing such a plan, focusing initially on planning relationships with existing customers.

What's In a Relationship Management Plan?

Relationship management plans ought to provide direction to the organization so that the plan answers and addresses the following important questions:1

  • Customer selection
On which customers should a company focus its relationship development?
  • Relationship objectives
What objectives might be considered with each chosen customer and what type of relationship might the organization seek to develop with these customers?
  • Engagement
How will each chosen customer be accessed, what will be the nature of communications and how will customers be engaged for an ongoing dialog, collaboration, value creation and value sharing?
  • Value
What value will be created for and with customers? ...

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