I’m all about relationship marketing, helping clients to establish effective connections with clients for long-term success. However, I just had an experience that leads me to an important clarification. It’s not necessarily a personal relationship.
Let me explain.
Relationship Marketing Mis-Applied
Comcast recently added service to my neighborhood. Yay! The TV part isn’t exciting, but the 1GB internet speed certainly is. I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
Once the service was installed, my next task was to cancel my Verizon internet and DirecTV services. Verizon was easy. I called and within 5 minutes my account was adjusted.
Then I called DirecTV…
First I dealt with the automated service that, ultimately, needed to pass me on to a person. No problem. When Yolanda came on the phone, she was bright and bubbly. Ok. I told her I wanted to cancel my service.
Yolanda was not happy.
She asked me to clarify. She had me verify my service address at least three times. Thank goodness I know my PIN. After verifying all my details down to my mother’s maiden name, she was silent. Then she put me on hold.
When she came back on the line, she actually asked me “why are you abandoning us?” Really? This wasn’t a personal relationship breakup, it was the end of a contractual relationship. Trying to turn on the interpersonal guilt was silly and not appropriate.
About 15 minutes later, I think I have broken up with AT&T/DirecTV.
Healthy Relationship Marketing for Business
Your business marketing should have a relationship focus. You need to demonstrate to customers that you care about them as much as you want them to care about you. But don’t make the mistake in thinking that these relationships are personal. They are not.
As long as customers need your service they will use you. A good relationship will keep them coming back. At some point they won’t need you anymore. Don’t take it personally, it’s just business.