Business Essentials for Business-to-Business Companies

By Anne Miner, Posted August 24, 2015

How can you make your company stand out from the crowd? This is a question that many business leaders have asked themselves for years. And, it is a question that The Dunvegan Group answers based on customer feedback.

For more than ten years, we have worked with Business-to-Business (B2B) Companies helping them build competitor-resistant relationships with their customers. Through this work, we discovered seven aspects of service that are fundamental to building strong relationships no matter what business you are in; companies that excel in these areas also excel at attracting and retaining their customers.

We have named these service aspects Business Essentials. In this series of articles, we will discuss each of the Seven Business Essentials individually.

Business Essential #1: Do what you say you will do.

Delivering on the promise of your company’s brand is the first step on the way to building a relationship of trust between your company and your constituents (e.g., customers, clients, patients, members, students).

Doing what you say you will do, keeping your promises to your customers is a fundamental element in building trust in your relationships; trust is the foundation of all great relationships.

Think of that famous John Cleese skit about the cheese shop; he goes to the shop to buy some cheese … asks for many varieties by name only to be told, “No, not today.” Or “We only have that early in the week.” The fundamental promise of the cheese shop is broken and the customer is unlikely to return.

When you advertise a special offer and do not honor it, or run out of the product before all the customers are satisfied, you have broken a promise; you have not done what you said you would do.

When your website, the sign on your door, or the message on your voicemail says that your office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and the customer arrives at 4:45 pm to find the door locked and the lights out, your promise is broken.

Service failures are a fact of business life; at some moment a customer will be let down. Whether it is a product defect, a late delivery, or a phone call that is not returned in a timely manner, you will want to make a graceful recovery.  

Whether you promise to replace the product, refund the delivery charge or return calls more promptly, it is essential that you follow through and do what you said you would do. Often when we make a graceful recovery, we build a stronger relationship than if we had not had a problem in the first place!

Anne Miner founded The Dunvegan Group in 1987. Since then, she and her company have built a reputation in the specialized area of customer satisfaction measurement and management to build competitor-resistant relationships.

The Dunvegan Group invested more than 10 years in the development and testing of its proprietary metrics to better evaluate the strength of customer relationships and predict customer retention … specifically in the B2B space and particularly in the transportation arena.

Anne holds an MBA from the University of Guelph and she is one of the first researchers in Canada awarded the prestigious designation of “Certified Marketing Research Professional” by the Marketing Research & Intelligence Association.

Anne Miner's latest book, "Soar2Success with Customer Care", contains over 50 tips for creating memorable customer experiences.