Relationship Management Skills are the bread-winning trait that relationship managers need to excel at their job. Client relationships are often delicate and fickle things, and therefore companies wish to hire those with the most expertise in these areas for important customer accounts.
Relationship Management Skills Definition
A definition of relationship management follows: “The maintenance of goodwill and operational efficiency between two parties.”
Using Relationship Management Skills Ethically
Looking After Your Supplier’s Business Objectives.
Supermarkets display a great example of what happens when a business completely ignores the needs of its suppliers business needs. Supermarkets are aggressive with pricing, and make almost impossible demands of their suppliers. Yet at the same time, their market dominance means that their suppliers have no other choice. These suppliers would take their custom away from the supermarkets as soon as they had another alternative. Using relationship management skills ethically can do the opposite – it can magnetise and attract repeat custom to your business!
Refrain from Manipulation
NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming is a pragmatic field of behavioural psychology. It’s a contraversial field that has been used heavily by the marketing types to improve their sales power. It also demonstrates how possible it is to manipulate and coerce others into agreeing with you. This type of activity is not ethical and should have no position in your relationship management skills.
Customer Relationship Management Skills
Customers are more demanding than suppliers. While suppliers will generally put up with admin burdens, (because they have an admin team to deal with such issues), a customer may choose to leave your brand entirely due to one time-wasting experience such as an unhelpful support phonecall, or a high-pressure back-end sales channel.
As a customer relationship manager, you need to look at your brand as a hollistic theme that should guide your decision making. Think of the brand as an easy decision making tool. If your brand is about professionalism, then ensure you uphold that with your customers. If your brand is about friendliness and user-focus, then at least attempt to be chirpy and pleasant on the phone!
Supplier Relationship Management Skills
Now, while I said that customers are more demanding than suppliers – supplier relationship management skills are no less important than their customer counterparts. Suppliers are of course the provider of resources, and the price at which your two companies can do business will dramatically shape the bottom line of the company. The positivity of the relationship between you and your supplier will therefore underpin this profitability, and a particularly good experience (perhaps if you went out on a limb to help your supplier with slow payments during the recession) will encourage the supplier to stick with you despite you offering a lower price upon renewal.