Case example:

Customer relationship management and after sales support

A company selling B2B services had managed to expand and grow steadily over the past two years. Now, with a wider customer base, it was able to identify customers of varying types, in terms of importance to its own sales. With the current situation in mind, the company believed it should pay extra attention to, serve, and listen more carefully to some of the customers, specifically those responsible for the majority of the company’s sales. However, the company felt that it did not have the necessary capabilities on its own to execute such activity in a highly professional and systematic manner. The company was also not prepared to hire more personnel, as the task would not require a full-time position.

The company needed an actor that would work in partnership with them, and who could serve them in the right proportions to fulfill the specified function: Meeting the company’s key customer representatives at regular intervals and listen to what they have to say about the ongoing co-operation with the company, the offering they were acquiring, and their mutual relationship with the company. Time should be systematically allocated to discuss and deal with all actual issues in a consultative manner, to nurture and maintain the customer relationships, and to pinpoint potential after-sales opportunities. Essential in this would be ensuring the customers experienced the time allocated for them as a priority treatment. The interactions also needed to be documented to a high standard, and also reported on to the stakeholders involved, so that the company itself would be able to respond and react based on the gathered information.

Co-operation was initiated between Magnolia Solutions and the company which saw Magnolia Solutions take responsibility of managing the customer relationships with key customers as well as producing leads for after-sales. A frame for interaction and to facilitate bi-weekly or monthly meetings was initially outlined by Magnolia Solutions, and then, agreed upon together with each customer organization separately. Meetings were carried out as online meeting or as live meetings at the premises at the customer. The outcome from the interactions were documented as extensive memorandums and reported on within the company.

The co-operation arrangement was a success. The representatives of the company felt that they now had a dedicated and reliable function to manage key customer relationships with. This, in turn, released resources within the company to other activities, and the company's management no longer had to worry about managing time and resources of their own personnel for this function. Instead, the company could rely on the service Magnolia Solutions was providing it in partnership. The documented reports from the meetings provided valuable input for the company’s sales department regarding leads for after-sales.

The customer organizations themselves were also pleased with the new way of collaborating. The customers felt that they were now very well heard in general, and that they had a dedicated forum, a slot held for them, so that they could always rely on any matter being dealt with in the upcoming pre-agreed occasion. The customers also considered that the new way of working with the company had resulted in a more structured and organized way of working with the matters relating to the company, within their own organization internally.