The Granny Lesson

My mom and dad have seven grandchildren. Three live in the US and four live in Ireland. The ones who live in the US live relatively close to my parents so they see each other often. The grandkids in Ireland, however, don’t have the benefit of being with my parents much. But, that hasn’t affected their relationship. The kids Skype with my parents on a weekly basis so that they can see and speak with each other. It’s as good as living down the street.

One of the last times my mom went to Ireland, my youngest nephew, who was three at the time, saw her in the airport and went running up to her and gave her a huge hug. He knew who she was and was thrilled to know that his granny was going to spoil him for the next week or so.

I have channel partners all over the Americas. We email often and have good, productive, email exchanges. However, it’s the phone calls and in person meetings that are the best. We can relate to each other and there’s something about sitting in a room with someone and hearing their voice that changes a relationship. Words written in an email can be taken so many different ways so if you don’t have an established relationship, then words can easily be taken the wrong way. When you sit face to face or hear a voice over the phone, you can get the tone of the voice and can really get a better understanding of what the person with whom you’re speaking, really means.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have built strong relationships with my channel partners over the phone, and of course email, that when we meet face to face, it’s like we’ve know each other for years, understand each other and give each other hugs. (For the record, I don’t suggest hugging people you don’t have a relationship with and if you’re unsure about it. A smile and handshake will work just as well.)

My challenge to you,  get out of the email rut, stop texting, walk over to someone’s desk, pick up the phone or hop on a plane and meet someone face to face. The bond that you build can be as strong as my nephew’s and my mom’s.

Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

A New Look and Focus

It’s been a while since I’ve written but during that time, I’ve realized that writing a blog about just customer references isn’t what I really wanted to be focusing on.  I do love customer references but I had realized that what I was writing about wasn’t about references, rather, customer experience.  With that, I welcome you to the new blog with a new focus on “customer xperience”.  I’ll still write about customer references, but am expanding the blog to incorporate all customers…sales people, partners, paid customers…

I welcome your feedback and thoughts as we begin this new journey together.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Every customer can help and is valuable.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp

Forget the KPIs and work on the relationship

It’s so easy to look at the day’s to do list and then focus on crossing items off.  We have to get x amount of references for the analyst and the case study interview is in 30 minutes and the customer press release needs final approval from the executive staff.  We become strangled by the things we have to do and we forget one of the basic principles of running a customer reference or loyalty program…relationships!

When was the last time you sat down with the Sales team to find out what’s going on with them?  When was the last time you called up a customer to see how they are doing?  If you build relationships, everything will become a little bit easier because your support group of you, gets bigger. If you treat people as people and try to get to know them, your relationship will grow.  I’m not suggesting becoming friends with all your customers, partners or sales teams, rather, become interested in them for who they are rather than what they represent to you or your company. 

When on calls with customers, partners or sales people,  I make notes of their birthdays,  anniversary, vacations, anything that is personal to them that’s not necessarily work related.   I can then email later  and see how their son’s baseball game went, how their trip to Italy was or how their wife’s birthday was.  Something a little personal without asking for something. If you don’t feel comfortable emailing them, drop a mention in a conversation. 

This week forget the mechanics and details of the reference program.  Focus on building relationships with your customers…sales, analysts, partners and customers.

I challenge you tomorrow, before you start crossing off items on your to do list, email or call a customer and say hi, thank you, happy Monday, how was your weekend.  Anything but asking them for something.  Treat them as a person rather than an action item, it’ll get you much further.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp This week forget the mechanics and details of the reference program.  Focus on building relationships with your customers…sales, analysts, partners and customers.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp


A good reference professional is good, not god.

It’s so easy to tell your reference professional, “I need five references for xxxx vertical.”  “I need 15 references for xxxx analyst.”  “I need six references for xxxx customer.”  Fingers are secretly snapped and the result is that the references professional has heart palpitations and you ping him/her every day, sometimes every hour, until you get what you need.

I was just going back through my old blog posts and found this one, appropriate for this post, and that I thought was worth reposting. “Why Running a CRP Isn’t Like Starbucks – and That’s Okay”

Happy reading!


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