Customer Intimacy by iupon13


									?It's often said that good times can hide fundamental problems with a company. This
might be everything from a high debt/equity ratio, to inferior products to poor
customer service. Some of these problems are harder to fix than others, especially
when the economy takes a turn for the worse. Therefore, it becomes important to
focus on those activities that you will provide you with the best results. One key area
that you can control, that also has proven to show significant results for small
companies in leaner times is Customer Intimacy?

What is Customer Intimacy?

Customer Intimacy is going beyond simply building a stronger relationship with your
client base to seeking ways to build solid win-win relationships. It means finding
COMPLETE solutions not partial ones, for your ideal clients. It means not reacting to
every whim of the customer but becoming an indispensable partner. It means moving
from a simple transactional mentality to an investor in the customers success.

This is not a new concept, and certainly it has proven to work well in good times, as
well. But when your marketing dollars are limited to begin with, and you see your
market is shrinking, customer intimacy becomes THE KEY strategy to ensuring

Why is it such a powerful technique?

Well for a start 1 in 3 market leading companies across a vast spectrum of industries
have become prominent by focusing on this concept. Secondly it's proven to be
WILDLY successful with small businesses. Finally it forces a smaller organization to
focus on their profitable clients and attract more of them!

So how do you harness the power of customer intimacy?

The sky is the limit on how to embrace this powerful concept, so I suggest you do
some reading to acquaint yourself with the many ways it can be utilized. Three superb
resources are:

? Customer Intimacy, Fred Wiersema
? Hug Your Customers, Jack Mitchell
? Strategies of Market Leaders, Vadim Kotelnikov

In the meantime, here are some quick ideas:

1. Invite your best and most profitable customers for a group dinner or lunch with a
good facilitator. Now ask them one question and let the facilitator do their magic. The
question is, "if you ran my business as of today, what changes would you make?"
2. Look at your best and most profitable customers and see if there is some way you
can help them strengthen their businesses. Do you know someone who might need
their services? Do you know of a great resource or person that you could connect
them with who could help them? Can you partner with them to strengthen both

3. Work with your customers to revamp your offerings. Is there a product you can add
to a service offering or a service you can provide to a product offering that would
make the package more powerful for your customer.

4. Is there an opportunity to educate or support your clients better so that they can get
the most out of your product and service offerings?

This is a time to swing open the doors of communication, and I don't mean YOU
speaking to your customers. This is the time to GET them to SPEAK to you and find
ways to adapt better to their needs. Help them through these more challenging times.
It could very well define your place in the market a year from now!

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About the Author

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success - a marketing company that
focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services.
She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to
finally achieve that next vital level of success. Cidnee is also a sought after speaker,
writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service
based operations

Feel free to use this article as long as you include the following: by Cidnee Stephen of
Strategies for Success

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