September 2011
Customer Intimacy

This month I want to pick up on this notion of devotion, and explore the experience of intimacy with your customers.

If you’ve ever cared for a bonsai, you know the intimate and nuanced relationship that emerges between you and this other living entity. It’s a resonance of sorts, an attunement that grows over time.

In business, I would call that same resonance “customer intimacy.”

As in any intimate relationship, intimacy resides in the between, meaning it is not “in” one or the other party, but can be found in the between-ness.

Yes, the notions of mine and yours are still there, but as poles between which the intimacy dances, in service to something else, namely, caring about the other’s well-being. This closeness emerges out of other efforts – like deep listening to the other – and cannot be quickly superimposed or extracted through a relationship management roll-out.

That said, customers need to also care about the business with whom they are having a relationship, and this is an area I feel is under explored.

So next month I will take a closer look at how customers can care about businesses, in addition to businesses caring about customers.