There are two ways of thinking about customers: as transactions and as relationships. If you don’t know which category you put your customers into, all you have to do is ask your customers, because the way you treat them is a direct reflection of which stance you take.

They can tell whether you think of them as relationships or transactions just by looking at by how you serve them. And here’s why that matters…

Transactions Don’t Create Connection & Lasting Impressions

When you think of your customers as mere transactions, you do your job, take what’s owed you, and leave. In your mind, you’ve done what was required or asked of you, and that’s the extent of things. There’s no need to go above and beyond. No need to follow-up. No need to make sure the customer is 100% satisfied. The end of the transaction is the end of the relationship.

What’s the harm in this thinking? Well, for one, you’re not likely to provide the high level of service you’re capable of providing or look for ways to add value for your customer. Because when it’s just a transaction, not a relationship, you simply won’t care as much as you could.

Sure, you might provide adequate service, but you’re not going to go out of your way to provide memorable service. You’re not going to look for additional ways to serve your customers or make their lives better. You’re just going to do the job and leave.  

The problem is: Engaging in transactional thinking is not how you build a loyal customer base. And when loyalty is absent, every need for service starts back in Google or some other search engine.  

More and more, we see Google infiltrating organic results with Paid Ads, Yelp filtering out legitimate reviews, and HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Google, Yelp, and other companies trying to get a piece of the service pie by taking a cut of business in exchange for putting your name out there in front of searchers.

  • Do you really want to have to rely heavily on search engines and paid services to keep business coming in? Hellllll, no! You want to know you’ll have business coming in, regardless of how many algorithm changes there are or how big your competitors’ ad budgets are.
  • Do you really want the customers you’ve marketed to, invested in, and served to go right back to the search box the next time they need the services you provide? Of course not. It costs 7 to 10x more to attract new customers than it does to retain customers, which means, you want those customers to keep coming back to you. But if you’ve given them no reason to remain loyal to you, they’re just as likely to use a competitor as they are to call you the next time they need service.

When you think of your customers as transactions, they feel it, and they think of you and the service you provide as mere transactions as well – which means you’re just one ship in a sea of competitors. In other words, when they’re just a transaction, so are you. And that means you’ve given your customers a reason to make their hiring decisions solely based on price. 

The bottom line: With transactional thinking, you’re cheating yourself and your customers. At the end of the day, you’re left with a slew of transactions, not a slew of customers. 

Relationships Create Value

On the other hand: when you think of your customers as relationships, it changes everything.

You’re suddenly considering them as people and looking for ways to provide exemplary service that goes above and beyond meeting their needs. You’re connecting with them, following up with them, asking them how their customer experience was, and letting them know you truly care about the way they feel at the end of the service.

You’re always looking for ways to add value. And you’re letting your customers know that you appreciate the opportunity to serve them; that your relationships with them are important and valuable to you.

And here’s the thing: When a customer feels like a valued relationship as opposed to a meaningless transaction, they’re not as likely to go out and start fresh with someone new the next time they need your services. They’ve already got a guy for that. They’ve already found a company that’s 100% capable of meeting their needs and caring for them.

When you have an established relationship with someone and know they value you and will treat you right, why go back to Google to start a new search and possibly be burned by a competitor? You wouldn’t, and your customers won’t. It’s not worth it.

So take some time to think about which category you put your customers in. If you’ve been thinking of your customers as transactions to complete as opposed to relationships to build and nurture, it’s time to make a shift — for your sake, your customers’ sakes, and your business’s sake.