Time is Money? I Don’t Think So.

We: The Ideal Customer Relationship

Joe and Megan have always been friendly rivals. They sell similar services and compete for the same customers. And, they have different approaches.

Let’s have a look at how Joe and Megan do business.

Joe: Time is money

Joe is an efficiency aficionado.  He loves creating systems and processes to make his business work more smoothly.

Each customer is assigned a number, and grouped with like customers, so processes in his office can be batched.  He has automated much of his communication with customers.

Email is his preferred method of customer communication, scheduling phone calls only when necessary. In-person customer meetings are rare, since they take up a lot of time.

Joe has also automated his marketing and sales processes.  His email marketing programs have a low conversion rate, but this is okay because it filters out the customers that he will be able to close quickly.

Yesterday, Joe was eating in a local restaurant, and one of his customers was sitting at the next table. Neither of them realized it, which was good, since it saved Joe the time he would have to spend if the customer asked him to join him for lunch.

Megan: Customer relationships are money

Megan is also careful with her time, yet she believes that the best way to spend her time is building relationships with her customers.

She keeps detailed notes of each customer’s business and personal interests in her CRM system.  Everyone in her office can view these notes and add information that they learn from their conversations with Megan’s customers.  As of today, 95% of these customer records include at least one photo of the customer.

Megan tries to meet with her customers in-person as often as possible. Her rule of thumb is “turn an email into a phone call, and turn a phone call into a meeting.”

Megan’s marketing and sales efforts are very focused. She doesn’t generate a lot of leads, preferring to focus her efforts on a small number of prospects.

Yesterday, Megan was eating at a local restaurant, and one of her customers was seated at the next table.  The customer invited Megan to join him and his friend. Megan now has a meeting scheduled with the friend for next Tuesday, to discuss doing business together.

Everyone reading this article is busy. We all look for “efficiency hacks,” as Joe does.  However, the one place we should not cut corners is with our customer interactions.

In virtually all situations, I would put my money on Megan before I would put it on Joe.  Sure, time is money, but in a much more important way relationships are money.  Megan’s customers are much more likely to consider them in a relationship with her than Joe’s customers are, and this belief is much more likely to lead to loyalty and improved business results for Megan.

Joe probably thinks that Megan “spends” more time with customers than he does. But the truth is that Megan “invests” more time with customers than Joe does. And good investments have good returns. Just ask Megan.

Posted in Conversation, Customer Encounters, We relationships
2 comments on “Time is Money? I Don’t Think So.
  1. Don Drews says:

    Great perspective Steve, but you buried the lead: “don’t think of ‘spending’ time with customers, think of ‘investing’ time with them.” That’s the long term view!

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