As a Consultant I often share information freely with clients and prospective clients. That includes forming basic plans, outlining strategies for them, and helping to roughly design or refine campaigns. We never expect compensation for this, we just hope to be involved in the venture if there is a role we can fill.
In more cases than not we don’t end up doing business with these clients. They might choose to try things on their own or the campaign never gets past the idea stage. But we are fine with that.
But often this openness results in a long-term client where we both benefit from the relationship or someone we initially consult with ends up sending us a referral at a later time. However, I often wonder (and I have received many similar comments) if this goodwill ever pays off.
Accountants have it easy, calculating good will is a simple formula, “The difference remaining after assets, minus liabilities”. In a Consulting capacity however, the formula gets muddy quite quickly.
I can tell you anecdotally some of our best clients have turned into long term partnerships and become cornerstones to our business for many years. In my eyes, prioritizing goodwill has never served us wrong.
But ultimately a perfect formula is just not workable. So, does customer goodwill pay off? Well, the best answer I can give is that it depends on what type of company you want to be. Do you value the relationship, or do you value the transaction?
Many companies do quite well placing value on the transaction. Large printing companies like Vista Print for example make slimmer margins and a large volume of transactions work, and their customer service is reasonably responsive. However, for complicated campaigns that are beyond just a few brochures or business cards, smaller firms excel by relying on building strong relationships with their clients. This is both for financial reasons and functional ones; it’s very difficult to deliver a quality product if you don’t know the company you are dealing with. You need to know their goals, capabilities and budgets to deliver a product or campaign that meets their needs.
Transactional relationships also carry a risk. If a strong competitor arises, you can often see business dry up, since by not building loyalty customers can easily move to the cheaper alternative. Building long term relationships and providing value beyond just your pricing makes price competition less of a factor.
So whatever strategy you choose to follow, make sure you head into it with your eyes open. Know your goals before you start and execute your strategy accordingly.
For more information on how JR Direct can help you build your next campaign.