It's important we realise that customer service and customer relationships are different animals

Customer relationships are the process we use when we are interacting with our customers in order to improve their experience with us. Customer relations gets customers to engage with what we have to offer… by implementing ways to improve the customer experience, they may continue to support our company's goals.

Customer service is the support and assistance we provide to customers when they have an issue or inquiry. When working in customer service, our goal is to make our current customers happy rather than reaching out to new customers. Much of the work we do in that space is therefore responsive to the needs and concerns of our current customers.

In short, the purpose of customer relationships is to build relationships with our customers while customer service focuses on solving their inquiries. Both processes help us to improve our customers experience.

Phew! Now I’ve got that out of the way let’s explore developing better relationships with our customers

Done well, developing better customer relationships is really a proactive activity and in National Highways we are constantly exploring innovative and engaging ways to improve our customers' experience - from building helpful website pages to writing interesting content.

So why bother?

This is a relationship, and as in any healthy relationship, the benefits of positive customer relationships helps the customer and our own people.

Finding ways to improve our customer relationships helps us build happier customers. When we show our customers that we care, they may feel happier about us and how we go about things. Taking care of our customers at every step of the way with us is crucial.

Everything from the first call or email to a friendly follow-up is important.

When our customers know they can rely on us to deliver excellent customer service and care, they may feel more valued.

So how are we in National Highways developing better relationships?

We are investing in building great teams. It’s our friendly, empathetic, hard-working team members who are at the heart of what we do, our people who are interacting and engaging with our customers on a daily basis. We are hiring the best talent who have demonstrated excellence in building customer excellence in other sectors, and are bringing their transferrable skills to us, showing us that there are different perspectives we can learn from. And importantly we are also ‘growing our own’ people who have loads of enthusiasm, years of practical experience, and understand our National Highways values and imperatives, and live by them, day in day out.

A word here about our values – safety, ownership, passion, teamwork and integrity- they are central to everything we do in National Highways, we invest a lot of time making them part of our DNA - from onboarding, and induction to our High5 rewards, where anyone can nominate a colleague for recognition and celebrate examples of them demonstrating our values.

When as leaders we authentically value our people, and treat each other with kindness this pays forward to better customer relationships.

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