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Being Married to Your Customers, Revisited

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 06, 2010

This past April I wrote an article on CatholicCulture.org comparing customer relationship management to personal relationship management—in particularly, to marriage. This article was significantly lengthened for publication in The New James both in print and online, where I am now a featured business columnist.

You can view this article on The New James website, and an excerpt is found below.

I have worked with companies that are naturally good at relationship management, and others that are horrible at it. You can recognize right away the difference between the two. In companies that are horrible at relationship management, every perceived problem is automatically escalated to the highest volume, and the blame is always placed squarely in the other camp.

If you have been around multiple businesses, you know that there is often a negative tendency to attribute differing priorities between the company and the customer to “unreasonableness”. If the customer wants something that the company doesn’t seem to be able to provide, the company is being “unreasonable”. Likewise, the company thinks that the customer is “unreasonable” for wanting what it wants. If you have been around enough marriages, you’ll see the same negative tendency.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Good relationship managers both in marriage and in business make the “exchange of differences” productive and positive, work to resolve differences when possible, and ensure that respect and personal responsibility remain a focus. In this way, the customer/spouse always feels valued—even when the decision is to “agree to disagree” or to resolve the difference at a future date.

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