Developing Relationships That Provide Business Value

By Mark Phillips  |  Posted 2011-02-14 Print this article Print

Developing relationships that provide business value

The same is true in online business communication. A business with thousands of individuals in its Twitter and Facebook networks (and thousands more on an e-mail distribution list) has incredible reach. What it does not necessarily have is meaningful or valuable relationships.

Similarly, innovations such as Twitter, instant messaging or mass e-mail messaging that allow a business to significantly increase the frequency of its interactions with customers also do not necessarily create value.

The ATM not only improved the reach of the cash withdrawal capabilities, it also increased the frequency of withdrawals by removing barriers that had led customers to keep bank interactions at a minimum. The most significant of those barriers was time. So, relatedly, just because a business can get a message through to a customer multiple times a day does not mean it should. Frequency, like reach, does not directly correlate with business value. In fact, overly frequent communication can slow down processes and inhibit relationship growth.

Developing relationships that truly provide business value requires getting done exactly what the customer wants to get done, in the fastest and most cost-efficient way possible. If the customer just wants to get cash, the ATM is perfect. If the customer wants to dispute a charge on the account, the ATM is likely not the customer's preferred channel to do so. This is when something such as automated customer service becomes a frustration rather than a help.

When a person chooses to connect with a company via a particular tool such as Facebook (and it costs them nothing to do so), it doesn't mean that they are a valuable revenue source. There are many reasons they may have connected; some may want only product news while others may welcome sales and marketing messages.

Mark Phillips is the Product Manager and Lead Spokesperson at Vertabase. Mark has presented to numerous professional groups on the subjects of software design, usability and project management. Mark has consulted for hundreds of organizations on project management and led the development of numerous Web-based and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Mark blogs about project management at He can also be reached at

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