Monitoring the quality of relationships can be tricky but can also provide enormous value. Taking an honest look at relationships and what they’re based on requires an open mind and the ability to understand people. Just like any other business endeavor progress can be measured based on achievement of the defined objective. So having a clear idea of what constitutes a quality relationship allows effective evaluation. The following are key points to consider when evaulating relationships:
Evaluate the Basis of Marketing Messages – Are the messages communicated to customers in marketing and advertising relationship based or sales based? Do they say ‘I want you to buy something’ or do they say ‘I want to provide valuable service’? Do they establish and/or reinforce a positive perception of the customer’s relationship with your business? The highest quality marketing messages are relationship based.
Assess Interaction with the Customer at the Point of Sale – Is the relationship based on the sales process or are sales generated through the relationship? Is interaction with the customer focused on sales or is it advisory in nature? If the customer relationship is at the forefront in the sales process the quality of customer service is of the highest caliber.
Evaluate Business Processes and Procedures – Are the business processes and procedures within the company clearly defined and documented? Do all people involved in the process understand the overall process and their role in it? Is information reporting an integrated part of the process? If business processes are running as efficiently and smoothly as possible they’re making the maximum contribution to positive relationships.
Grade the Impact of Information Systems on Customer Relationships – Do documents and correspondence with the customer communicate and reinforce the customer relationship? Do they communicate service and value? If the primary impact of information systems is on relationship building then the most positive contribution is being made.
Evaluate the Quality of Employee Relationships – Are employees competitively compensated? How does turnover compare to industry averages? Are employee skills improved to keep up with industry advances? Are employees given the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the business? Are they recognized for their contributions? The answers to these questions will indicate the quality of business/employee relationships.
Measure the Caliber of Supplier Relationships – Are the procedures in the shop set up to support the supplier’s best efforts to provide quality service? Does the supplier meet the basic criteria for a positive relationship? Does the supplier go beyond these criteria? If so is the supplier recognized for it? These indicators will give a good assessment of the quality of supplier relationships.
Relationships are an important ingredient in the recipe for business success. Evaluating them and focusing on improving them will provide a positive contribution to any company. Monitoring key relationships and the factors that affect them with the goal of improving them as much as possible will make a business stand out and excel.