Chuck McKay writes in his blog about the difference between relational and transactional customers. After reading his post several times, including the link here to an equally informative post, I recommend them as "must reads"?? for anyone involved with customers, either business to business or business to consumer.
Transactional shoppers believe that they know enough about the prospective purchase to make an intelligent decision. They’re mostly interested in getting the best price.
Relational shoppers worry that they don’t know enough and are concerned about making the wrong purchase. Relational shoppers are looking to find someone they can trust to advise them.
This speaks to the fundamental axiom, "know your customer."?? Life would be so simple if everyone could be forced into a single category, but life ain´t simple. You could say that, once you determine which category a customer falls into, then you could compete on price for transactional customers and build relations with relational customers but again, it´s not that simple.
For example, I went to the same dentist for more than 15 years who went above and beyond the service offered by most of the dental profession. He was, and still is, a best practice in how to make nervous patients feel comfortable. He has a clear vision of how he expects his staff to relate to their patients. Of the dozen or so dentists I’ve had in my life, he is the best when it comes to customer service. But, I reluctantly switched to someone else when I no longer wished to pay his higher prices.
While I don´t disagree with Chuck, as the above example shows, the difference between the two types of customers is not a sharply defined line where some are on one side and some are on the other, but it can be a blurry line or a fuzzy gray area.
Read Chuck´s post. Consider committing it to memory. Then click through to the relational post. Read that also. You´ll be glad you did.
Then if you agree, translate your knowledge into action in your own business.
All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.
–Thomas J. Watson