Cultivating the Customer Connection: A Framework for Understanding Customer Relationships by James G. Barnes.

Executive Summary
Building a genuine relationship with customers is one of the leading factors that determine a business’ success. To build a real relationship with its clients, an organization must have insight into their needs and personality. Noteworthy, this strategy also increases the length of time that each client stays with them. Additionally, satisfied buyers make more purchases from the firm, recommend it to their friends and family, and purchase more items at their full prices. Accordingly, a strong customer relationship can help a company be assured of its continued operation in the long run.
Analysis of the “5 E’s of Customer Relationship
A business must have insight into the customer environment, expectations, and emotions for it to cultivate customer connection. It must also provide the buyer with quality customer experience and engagement. The most important attribute is customer experience since it can lead to the development of a genuine relationship with buyers. It entails an organization providing a convenient environment for its clients and ensuring that they can interact with its employees. It also entails the business having an on-going interaction with its customers and also aiming to create a better experience for them. For example, a firm can create an online and real-time customer care service.
Customer expectation is the second most important attribute in cultivating customer connection. Usually, if an organization fails to meet buyers’ expectations, they move to its competitors. Businesses should provide services that at least meet the customer expectation. For example, a restaurant should be able to provide a fresh meal and ensure that its premises are clean. An understanding of the buyers’ expectations also enables a business to learn what these individuals do not expect. Accordingly, a firm can always surpass their expectations by providing better services than they anticipate.
The third most important attribute in cultivation customer relationship is customer environment. It influences buyers’ personality and purchasing decisions. In light of this, a company must have insight on how a customer makes his/her purchasing decisions for it to target and serve the individual appropriately. For example, a business providing safety equipment to persons working in a factory must have an understanding of the dangers in this work environment. This information will help the firm know the most appropriate helmets, reflective jackets, and other safety equipment for each personnel.
Buyers’ emotions are the fourth most important attribute when creating customer connection. Businesses create positive customer emotions by providing appropriate comforts, affection, and a friendly environment for its clients. The continued provision of small positive relationships leads to the creation of long-lasting effect. For example, a barber shop can create customer emotions by providing a relaxed environment where individuals can chat and relax when being shaved.
Lastly, a business must engage its clients for it to cultivate customer connection. Customer engagement entails the business involving its customers in the production and delivery of products and services. Importantly, it increases buyers’ commitment to the business. For example, a car assembly company can involve its customer in the selection of their desired colors, seats, interior, and tires.
Most Important Aspect of Customer Connection
Customers’ connections are mainly based on their vested interests and not unconditional love for the company or its product. For example, if an organization starts offering low-quality products or poor services, its clients will eventually become frustrated and develop negative emotions towards the company and its products. Normally, most of them will complain to the company, and they will demand better services. If these requirements are not met, the buyers will eventually shift to other sellers. In this regard, it is apparent that customers’ emotional connection is mainly due to their vested interests.