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Relationship Research
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Strategic Customer Relationships
Phase III
Strategic - Collaborative - Partnership
Statistical Modeling
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Companies that achieve and sustain business success have mastered the ability to develop long-term quality, relationships with their customers. These relationships are sustainable through good times and bad because they are based on mutual commitment, caring and investment in collaboration to achieve strategic goals.

The Relationship is Central
At GuideStar Research, we believe that measuring the quality of your customer relationships is central to customer research that will result in improved business performance. The dimensions of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, though important, only partially constitute a high-quality customer relationship that produces improved, sustainable business performance.

Many traditional customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys are flawed for two important reasons:

  1. Lack of a central focus on measuring the quality of the relationship
  2. Lack of specific relationship analytic measurement and diagnostic processes and methods.

Our processes and methods are designed to develop a clear understanding of the critical dimensions and patterns of interactions within a specific customer relationship that must function well to produce healthy business outcomes.

The Health of the Forest - A Critical Perspective
Often, traditional customer satisfaction and customer loyalty surveys measure some individual trees and groves instead of examining the overall health of the forest, the ecological trends within the forest and the force-field interactions between the forest and the surrounding natural elements upon which it depends for its health and survival.

Did You Know?
"We have learned how to define and measure the essential dimensions of a specific customer relationship, to determine the quality of the relationship and to identify the specific tactical and strategic actions and behaviors that are required to improve the relationship."

GuideStar's mission is to apply our specialized relationship research methods and experience to assist and guide you in developing quality relationships with their customers. Our relationship research methods and process have been developed and refined from over a decade of research experience with tens of thousands of business-to-business customers in hundreds of companies from a broad variety of industries.

High-quality customer relationships are marked by:

The Relationship Ladder™
Customer relationships are a complex mixture of business dimensions and interpersonal relationships. One analytic method we have developed to clarify and define a customer relationship is the Relationship Ladder. It has proven to be a reliable and accurate statistical measure.

Customers are asked to classify their current relationship with you into one of seven categories ranging across a spectrum from the most intimate type of business relationship (strategic partner) to the most alienated type of business relationship (wouldn't do business with you if I didn't have to).

Through extensive in-depth research with decision makers, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, we are able to determine the critical attributes required for you to move up the Relationship Ladder to higher quality relationship levels with their customers.

And because our Relationship Ladder analysis also measures the type of relationship a customer aspires to achieve with you, any gap between their current relationship and their ideal relationship reveals the "Aspirational Opportunity" inherent in the relationship. Through GuideStar consultants' recommendations and guidance, we assist you to better meet their customers' desire of achieving their ideal relationship. The goal is to move the customer relationship up to the highest levels possible on the Relationship Ladder.

Though this may require a substantial strategic repositioning effort to change the customer's perception of the strategic value of the vendor, the rewards can be great, producing dramatic improvements in business outcomes, performance and organizational success.

Moving Up the Relationship Ladder = Improved Business Outcomes
Each successively higher level on the relationship ladder represents tangible, measurable gains in improved business outcomes with a customer in terms of preferential treatment, trust, referencing, new large-scale sales opportunities plus increased openness and collaboration on long-term strategic planning and commitments.

Though the highest level on the Relationship Ladder, "Strategic Partnership," is attained by a relatively small number of vendors with each customer, the advantages of moving up the ladder to levels just below "Strategic Partner" can produce significant improvements in the business outcomes with a given customer.

The "sweet spot" on the Relationship Ladder, where far more vendors can achieve highly desirable customer relationships with a customer, is just below "Strategic Partner" on the ladder.

What It Takes to Move Your Customer Relationships "Up the Ladder"
GuideStar's research process and methods are designed explicitly to develop a clear pathway of well-defined attributes (attitudes, behaviors, policies, programs, resources and leadership commitment) that you can develop and employ to move their customer relationships up the ladder to more beneficial levels.

A Relationship Ladder Pathway is developed by GuideStar consultants. It requires an in-depth examination and analysis of your customer relationships.

To learn more about GuideStar's Relationship Ladder analytics,  contact GuideStar or call us at 212-426-2333.

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