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It Takes Two to Tango - 3-Steps to Create Long-lasting Customer Relationships

Over the next few months, I'm proud to have joined the latest PowerMBA cohort with the opportunity to share with the world what I've taken away from their course!

This will include a deep-dive on various topics from 'Engines of Growth' to value proposition and everything in between.

You can find out more here!


Without a raving set of customers, startups or indeed any business of any size simply cannot exist.

How then do we build strong, long-lasting relationships and delight our client base at every opportunity?

Let me share with you my own background and what I’ve taken away from The PowerMBA’s Business Model Analysis.

I’m Dec and I wear a few hats (!)

I am Business Development Lead for tech startup BackHug (helping sore backs at home). I also help run the Startup Grind Edinburgh chapter alongside my nutrition coaching business DM Nutrition (naturally you'll have seen from this website).

Personally, each role has given me a truly unique perspective into the lens of forming new relationships, nurturing existing clients and building communities.

Perhaps we should start with why (to use Simon Sinek’s famous line).

Why should you focus or care about your customer relationships? Well, if you don’t, you may be in the wrong business.

However, here’s a few metrics for the numerically minded of us:

  • Maximising CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value)

  • Minimising CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

  • Improving customer satisfaction

Perhaps on a grander scale, we can also look at the benefits it offers for product development and making sure that you are solving a customer’s pain point in a way that is convenient, reliable and cost effective.

What I took away from The PowerMBA module was to make sure that the channels you are using (e.g. webinars, LinkedIn groups, WhatsApp) are a good match for you and your team.

1) Communication

Creating systems is key here. Could you invest in a new CRM to better manage your conversations?

Pick 2-3 channels that work best for both you and your customers.

Such as:

  • Feedback calls (5-10 minutes)

  • Webinars (Q&A sessions)

  • Private social media groups (Facebook, LinkedIn)

This minimises workload and also removes distractions.

You'll also maximise results by focusing on the 20% of channels that provide you with 80% of the insights, relationships and feedback you're looking for.

2) Community

A recent favourite buzz-word in the world of tech.

But, just how does one build and nurture a thriving community?

Firstly, it takes time.

Secondly, it takes commitment to show up consistently and add value.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it takes consistency and a willingness to focus long-term.

Could you nominate community ‘champions’ to act as leaders to share your message and to inspire the group?

Could you create exclusive competitions or offers to entice more to join?

The PowerMBA have done this superbly.

From the get-go I got a real sense of belonging and with many opportunities to network and meet my cohort, it feels truly personal and meaningful.

Quick-fire community building tips:

  • Nominate community 'champions' as leaders

  • Incentivise engagement (E.g. competitions, awards)

  • Speak your customers' language

  • Build a self-sustaining referral scheme (e.g. free or discounted products/services if friends are invited to join)

3) Feedback

Last but not very not least is how to handle feedback.

I recommend from experience to be proactive, not reactive.

Oftentimes, if there’s an issue or something that can be improved with your product or service, customers may be hesitant to share.

It’s rarely fun to have to point out shortcomings and understandable that others will shy away from hard conversations.

But, if we provide a safe space for customers to be truly open and honest, everyone wins.

The feedback you need to hear most, more often than not is the hardest.

Feedback top tips:

  • Incentivise your customers (e.g. competitions, early access to product launches)

  • Seek out constructive feedback

  • Notice your unconscious biases

  • Use their language in marketing and/or messaging within your product or service

Remember, it takes two to tango. Be patient, give first and play the long game!


  • Pick 2-3 communication channels to communicate with customers (E.g. phone-call, email, Facebook Groups)

  • Optimise for community engagement & incentivise 'leaders' to amplify your brand message

  • Seek out constructive feedback & create incentives to share on an on-going basis


Dec McLaughlin is a Business Development Lead at tech startup BackHug (helping sore backs at home). He also helps run the Startup Grind Edinburgh Chapter & helps entrepreneurs lose up to 20lbs in 90-days via his DM Nutrition coaching business.


Looking to take your business knowledge to the next level? ThePowerMBA have now launched in the UK!

Click here to find out more.


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