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Is It Time for a Relationship Check-Up©?

What's the state of your relationships with your organization's key constituent groups? Here's how to find out. The only thing that communication people like me do is to build relationships between our clients or employers and their constituent groups — like shareholders, customers, employees, government officials and media.

Many metrics that organizations use to measure the success of their communication investments are merely incomplete approximations of the result that they really want: relationships of trust, respect and mutual understanding. Most organizations fail to measure the quality of the relationships they have with key internal and external constituent groups, whose expectations must be met to win their support for the goals and objectives of the organization — goals like selling products and services or winning support for public policies that will benefit the organization. While measures of media impressions, website hits, or even sales and stock prices are useful, they are only indicators of the quality of the underlying relationships.

While you can infer what certain behaviors say about the attractiveness of your product offering or your customers’ loyalty, the only reliable way to check-up on the state of a relationship is to measure the state of the relationship, not its markers. Many communicators are familiar with a term and process known as a Communications Audit and may think that’s what I’m talking about here. It’s not. An audit is an inventory of communication tools and channels, which, at best, are only sometimes compared to best practices. In either case, the result doesn’t produce a measurement of relationship quality. A Relationship Check-Up does.

This process of listening to key constituents allows organizations to compare their performance on various measures against their constituents’ expectations for the organization’s performance. It’s a simple, intuitive idea: find out what it takes to have a successful relationship with someone and then deliver it. To learn more, download my publication, How To Plan and Manage a Relationship Checkup.

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