Why relationship building is everyone’s responsibility!

Why relationship building is everyone’s responsibility!


We recently gathered senior leaders together for one of our regular internal conferences at the King Power Stadium, home to Leicester City Football Club. A very impressive venue, although obviously not as quite as great as the mighty Emirates Stadium!

The theme of the day was “Through our Customers’ Lens” and as part of the event we were lucky enough to have Daksh Gupta, Group CEO from Marshall Motor Holdings to join us for a Q&A session.

It was great to get direct feedback from one of our largest, and longest-standing customers, and to hear Daksh’s views on the automotive industry in general which is facing unprecedented levels of change. One of the things that we heard from Daksh was the importance of building strong business partnerships, and I thought this would make a good topic for my latest blog.

I was interested to hear Daksh say that a business partnership is built on three things – service, relationships and price.

Clearly, price is important, but in this blog, I want to focus on the other two elements – service and relationships.

Daksh Gupta and Martin Forbes

At your service

One thing Daksh and I both agree on is that great service starts with employing the right people.

Both our organisations are focussed on people engagement. Marshall was recently ranked 11th in the UK Great Place to Work survey, a phenomenal achievement. At Cox Automotive, we’re in the Best Companies ‘Ones to Watch’ list, and working hard on listening to our team members, improving engagement and always looking to act on their feedback where possible.

I was also interested to hear Daksh talk about sticking to your values as an organisation, something that seems to me to be most important when the market is challenging.

So, we know that engaged and motivated team members will treat our customers with respect and do what’s needed to deliver on their expectations, but a true partnership is great deal more than that: It’s investing the time and effort in understanding the needs of another business, being able to anticipate changes and offering flexibility and best advice.

It’s also about solving problems together when things go wrong, which brings me nicely on to the importance of relationships.

Nurture relationships

Building great relationships takes time and energy, but the return on investment is impressive if you get it right.
Finding out more about a customer, their business strategy and future needs allows you to make sure that what you’re offering stays relevant. More than that, it means you can develop your own product strategy to meet the changing needs of your industry.

Having good customer relationships also gives you the best possible chance of putting things right if they go wrong.
Even with the best people and best processes, sometimes problems will unfortunately crop-up. At that point, it’s important for customers at all levels of a partner organisation to feel that they have a trusted person to contact to resolve things. After all, how you resolve an issue is often the biggest opportunity to show the strength of the partnership.

Helping our customers succeed

We chose the topic “Through the Customers’ Lens” because we wanted to highlight the importance of being customer-focussed. This doesn’t just apply to our Sales team, but to every single one of our team members.

The best way for us to help our customers succeed is to get to know them, and act as a trusted advisor in these changing times. That’s why we’re so proud to share our findings and analysis with the launch of our 2019 Insight Report.

We operate in an industry where we are surrounded with data but so often starved of insights. This report is a fantastic opportunity for us to open conversations around our industry and give our customers more insight to help them make the best possible strategic decisions.

The report is free to download from the Cox Auto website. I would also encourage you to view the excellent webinars, where Philip Nothard (Customer Insight and Strategy Director, Cox Automotive UK) and Owen Edwards (associate director, Grant Thornton) dig deeper into the key topics raised in the report. Take a look, and please get in touch with your comments and feedback.

The secret of a great partnership

I see a lot of businesses put all their emphasis on price and service, thinking that relationships will look after themselves.

In my view that’s a mistake – my advice is, don’t underestimate the power of building trust at all levels of an organisation you partner with. The deeper the relationship, the greater value you’ll gain from your customer.


Don’t just leave it to the Sales team, make the time to build those relationships across the organisation and you will cretainly see the benefits.

 

 

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