Relationships form over time, they are not isolated meetings

Relationships form over time, they are not isolated meetings

By Peter Harris, 5 November 2020

In business, as in life, relationships matter. As with personal relationships, customer and employee relationships are constantly evolving over time. Right now, things are changing faster than ever before, so the need to understand, measure and leverage relationships over time is massively important.

Whilst we at Potentiate love CX, using the best practice of understanding and acting on the quality of interactions through the customer journey. But, we believe companies need more than these cross-sectional clues – we need the insights that only longitudinal analysis will permit. That’s why we’ve teamed up with MirrorWave to start joining up the dots on important ongoing relationships.

To power the human experience in deep, enduring relationships, it’s crucial to focus on individuals. By ‘following’ individual relationships and experiences over time (using a longitudinal method behind the scenes to literally join the dots) it becomes very clear how individual and personal the humps and bumps in every relationship are.

In fact, by mapping individual relationships over the course of time, it’s apparent that no two people are identical.

Because relationships are valuable, you need to know how individuals have changed since the last measurement and most importantly WHY things are changing. Joining the dots between what a person is saying now, compared to previous comments, is the key to explaining the change, and then powering the human experience based on that understanding.

The Relational Experience is likely not about interactions at all

To understand this ‘Relational Experience’ you must regularly ask people to step back from the day-to-day interactions and ask them for their perceptions of their relational experience overall. Not only will you get the customer-perceived big picture of their experience over time, but you will also see which interactions, if any, have impacted their overall experience. If they don’t mention an interaction, then it’s likely it’s not very important.

What’s also regularly ignored is that companies cannot fully control experiences. That’s because experiences inevitably involve perceptions, emotions and unexpected behaviours on the part of individual customers. And, of course expectations that differ from person to person. No matter how well we craft an experience, customers may not perceive their encounter exactly as we hoped. The only way to get to the heart of this is to understand as much as we can about the individual over time.

For example, MirrorWave’s research tells us that 50% of dissatisfaction with an experience isn’t to do with the quality and delivery of it at all. It’s actually to do with what was promised (or what they believed to have been promised) to the individual in the first place. If expectations are unrealistic or unclear prior to an experience, no amount of customer experience design is going to overcome that. More energy needs to be put into managing promise making, as well as interactions.

How does it work and where is the low hanging fruit?

For users it’s a simple process, all of the tricky data management in the backend is handled by MirrorWave’s powerful platform. The mental leap away from cross-sectional to a process of joining up the dots can require a bit of a paradigm shift, but once you start thinking longitudinally, you’ll never go back!

The key to the approach is to reach out twice a year to key individual relationships and each time ask the same questions. This feedback is joined up into individual relationship stories and the different relationship trajectories reported and managed in ways that are specific to the business setting. The longitudinal record include responses, promises, and outcomes.

The shift we are calling for is a move from treating people as averages and instead focusing on them as individuals, collecting information over time, joining the dots together, so that you can manage your relationships profitably.

For information on the MirrorWave approach, click here.

Or even better, let us show you how it works so you can immediately imagine the benefits for your strategic relationships. Contact Us today.

 

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