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3 Signs Your Customer Relationship Is Transactional (and How to Fix It)

Drew Beechler
August 3, 2023

What used to work to woo customers doesn’t work anymore.

You can’t just sell your product and expect lifelong loyalty — you need to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

Look at the world’s most successful brands: Nike, Patagonia, and Google. They stand for something. Their customers are a tribe of like-minded people striving for a common goal.

So, how do you know if your customer relationship is transactional? And what might a connected relationship look like in the future?

Sign #1: How personalized is your customer experience?

When your customers feel like a number, they’re not going to connect with you or your mission. Simple as that.

You've already lost if the only personalized part of your customer experience is merging fields in sales emailsIf the only personalized part of your customer experience is merging fields in sales emails, you’ve already lost.

Put yourself in their shoes. You want your favorite brand to:

  • Give you meaningful recommendations.
  • Communicate like a human, not a robot.
  • Provide a great in-person and digital customer experience.

Make your customers feel seen, heard, and valued. Like they’re a person, not a number.

Take your favorite streaming service for example. You have a completely different experience on each platform than I do – because of personalization. You like horror movies while I prefer comedy. And the recommendation engine shows us what we want to see.

And because of that customized experience, we keep coming back for more.

So, collect customer data, understand their interests, and use a CRM to communicate your recommendations for them.

Sign #2: Do you limit your communication with customers?

Red flag: Only reaching out when you’re selling something.

You want your customers’ trust and loyalty. Don’t just email or text them when you want to make a quick buck.


  • Keep customers informed.
  • Address their concerns and pain points.
  • Answer their frequently asked questions.

Here’s an example: Zappos.

Zappos reps are empowered to solve customer problems on the spot.

There’s a reason everyone who deals with their call center is satisfied. Some conversations even last 10 hours.

A few ways to improve your customer communication:

  • Communicate through multiple marketing channels.
  • Add more touchpoints (e.g. follow-ups, not just sales messages).
  • Change your messaging to be more empathetic in each stage of the customer journey.

Sign #3: Do you focus on sales more than customer needs?

If you take the advice above (more personalization and more communication) but forget about your customers’ needs, you’ll lose them.

Above all, you need to solve their problems.

Amazon has been so successful because of Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on the customer.

“There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor-focused, you can be product-focused, you can be technology-focused, you can be business model-focused... But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of day one vitality.

Start by listening to your customers.

Collect feedback through surveys and conversations to uncover the answer to the following questions:

  • What gaps can you fill?
  • What opportunities do you have to improve your service?

Ways to Transform Your Transactional Customer Relationship Unto a Fully-Engaged Lovefest

Web3 has totally flipped customer marketing on its head.

Here’s how you can take a boring, old transactional relationship and transform it into a profitable and engaging customer experience.

1. Personalization

I know, it’s more difficult to personalize the customer experience now that we live in a cookieless world. But web3 has answers.

NFTs and web3 can be used to create personalized, ownable experiences for your most loyal fans. And you can use a CRM, like Holder, to collect, organize, and leverage that customer data. Some ideas include:

  • Gamified loyalty rewards (like Starbucks).
  • Exclusive experiences and promotions (like Nike).
  • Extending your brand into art and digital assets (like Gucci).

NFTs are a really effective way to personalize your customer experience and engage your fans on a deeper level.

2. Community

Belonging is important, especially in today’s age of loneliness.

Communities provide a space for customers to connect with other like-minded people in a new and exciting way on the internet.

Web3 tech can facilitate those communities, allowing customers to interact with each other.

For example, we’ve helped legacy brands create tokenized communities where customers can connect with each other and earn rewards for their participation.

A transactional relationship — focused solely on sales — isn’t enough to connect with your customers in 2023.

Identify where you can improve the customer experience with web3 as a new marketing channel.

Want to manage your web3 or NFT project marketing in one central place? Holder’s CRM is your go-to.

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