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Business models in strategic management
Business models in strategic management

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5.1.6 How do you interact? Customer relations

This question refers to the relationships you have with those you help and your answer will depend on your answer to the question ‘Who do you help?’.

Having answered the question ‘Who do you help?’, you have identified your customers. Now is the time to think about how you communicate with these people, groups and organisations. Such communications may be online or in a face-to-face format. You need to consider what type of communication works better with those you help. Since the end of 2000s and especially in the post-pandemic era, online communications have become even more important. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine that some relations may rely on face-to-face communications exclusively. Instead, the two communications are often used in a complementary manner, with one supporting the other. For example, a professional freelance psychologist may run a blog on a range of themes around mental wellness and personal development, with most communications, such as videos for its audience, brief publications and one-to-one sessions, being online. However, they may consider having some events in a face-to-face format. These may be events aiming to promote their services in nearby areas and could be provided at no cost to the audience.

Laptop screen showing participants in a group videocall.

Activity 17 Your customer relations

Timing: Allow around 15 minutes

Think about your answer to the question ‘How do you interact?’ and make notes in the box below. While answering this question, think about it in relation to your answer to the question ‘Who do you help?’ (Activity 16). For example, you may want to communicate with some of those you help online, or there may be those who would prefer to interact with you in a face-to-face format.

The online versus face-to-face classification is simple and you may move one step further in thinking about specific nuances of your communications. For example, what type of online communications do you use or intend to use? Will they be synchronous – when communications occur in a real time regime – suggesting the simultaneous engagement of the participants? Possible examples of synchronous communication include live streaming, phone interviews, video conferencing, instant messaging, and virtual 1-to-1 or group meetings. Or will they be asynchronous, when those communicating do not interact simultaneously? These may take the form of email correspondence, SMS messaging, and pre-recorded videos and audios.

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