Master Your Customer Relationships With This ‘HACK’ Borrowed From Doctors and Dentists

At my company, TemplateMonster, we were in search of a customer relationship success formula for quite some time. At first, I decided to use the best practices of transnational corporations that had been able to make the key processes more effective and repeatable. We brought in consultants and wasted more than half a year on analyzing and describing all our business processes. We drew numerous process maps and diagrams, implemented a very expensive CRM system — but it all worked only on paper.

Related: If You’re Asking Customers How You Can Help, It’s Too Late

I was very surprised when I discovered that sometimes a new employee could work with clients efficiently and get along with them so well that he could be forgiven all the professional flaws he had. And sometimes the most disciplined worker who followed all the rules couldn’t get a good review from the clients. One review looked like this: “He is a good and disciplined guy doing everything on time, but we prefer to work with [the other guy].”

Then it dawned on me that clients primarily value good communication, and their business with you takes second place on the list of their demands. There are hundreds of online tools that help automate routine processes and simulate live communication, but there were no ready-made frameworks for building successful relationships with customers.

I started to study other businesses through the prism of good relations with customers and high customer lifetime value as a consequence. I was surprised to find that one of the highest customer lifetime values in the world was generated by dentists, pediatricians and other doctors. Really, if you didn’t move to another city or country, it is very likely that your dentist has treated your teeth since childhood when your mom brought you in for the annual checkup. Suddenly, your wife and kids go to the same dentist, and the cycle continues.