I assume most of you will have heard of work done on managing ‘sticky relationships’. Ah no, that’s nothing to do with trying to keep a big row from blowing up in the papers in already turbulent times. It’s the way that organisations – perhaps, say, those papers themselves – try to keep people consistently coming back for more of the same, and the promise of better.
It’s the reason that, even bombarded with feline and Brexit memes every day, people still find a summer hols social media cleanse so challenging. Or, for example, it has been used to describe the way law firms seek to weave their way deeper into the fabric of most cherished clients. We all like to feel indispensable, right? But if customers seem to keep seeing you around (and that appears to be in a good way – say, addressing some of their strategic business challenges), they’re probably less likely to take time to shop around for somebody new. One big element of this could be a healthy culture of committed client relationship management. CRM isn’t just an IT system for catching and recording vital client details, it’s the way the system
is used to construct ‘stickier’ client relationships than you’d have otherwise.
We’re talking about the same basic challenge. What keeps people wanting to come back to you each day, rather than being tempted by the competition or a change?
It’s less common to hear businesses talking about achieving stickier relationships with their own employees. They’re more likely to use a word like engagement. Fundamentally, however – for all the great organisational purpose, and the vision, and the values – we’re talking about the same basic challenge.
What keeps people wanting to come back to you each day, rather than being tempted by the competition or a change?
Attrition is expensive, and with a light rightly being shone more brightly on mental health in the last few years, firms are investing in ever more people-based initiatives – addressing work-life balance, more equitable resourcing of the work bit, and perhaps even some innovative support when it comes to the challenging business of life. More often than not, there will be an element of technology involved in delivering all of these – and the experience of that had better be a touch sticky, too.