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Connecting with your customers

This course is designed to help you engage more effectively with your customers in order to improve the customer experience and encourage loyalty, profitability and satisfaction. It covers the principles and features that support effective relationship building, and through examples of good practice, a means of evaluating how well your organisation connects with its customers.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

What you will study

Why is connecting with customers so important for you and your organisation? This course aims to address this question by presenting a number of ideas about how to create value for customers with a number of key objectives in mind: 

  • increasing the relevance of current products and services to the market
  • better profit margins
  • increasing speed to market
  • reducing the risk of failed innovation
  • improving agility of organisations to exploit potential opportunities and respond to early              warnings of threats
  • greater customer and employee satisfaction
  • competitive advantage
  • more efficient working
  • more engaged employees
  • greater brand awareness

The benefits achieved by organisations can be measured by profitability, increased efficiencies, customer and employee satisfaction and therefore a more sustainable strategy for ongoing value creation. Customers on the other hand gain through a better overall experience that is more aligned with their expectations and ongoing needs and wants.

This course starts with examining the reasons for connecting with customers and asks what’s in it for them? What’s in it for you? It then moves on to look at how organisations can connect more effectively with their customers. The course also focuses on how to create a customer focused culture and finally, managing loyalty and satisfaction.

Key concepts of understanding customers, segmentation, the customer life cycle, loyalty and engagement, customer profitability and customer centricity will be covered in this course. Case studies will help students to understand what effective organisations do. The course will outline some of the main models, principles, features and benefits of strategies to build effective relationships with customers, always remembering that customers ultimately decide with whom they connect. A connection in this context begins with the recognition or realisation that both parties have something that the other needs and therefore an exchange is possible.

Throughout the course you will be encouraged to draw upon your own experiences and reflect on how well your own organisation relates to its customers. The activities you will undertake throughout aim to help you to evaluate where there is scope to improve on current practice in managing, engaging and developing your key customers or customer groups. This should enable you to produce an action plan of how you can connect more effectively with customers and implement the improvements you identify are needed. 

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 25 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. A learning adviser will review your work-based activity and provide personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB The course does not carry academic credits.)

You will learn

After completing this course you should be able to:
  • Examine the potential benefits and challenges of connecting with customers and apply it to their own organisation
  • Explain the customer lifecycle and describe how it is currently managed in their own organisation
  • Use the principles and features of good relationship management to evaluate how it is practised in their own organisation
  • Apply the concept of loyalty and retention in relation to their own customer base
  • Plan to improve engagement with a key customer or group of customers.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the course forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.

Outside the UK

This course has been written primarily for a UK context, but will have relevance to other contexts.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

    You can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course.

    Please note that depending on when you register, you will have at least 6 months to submit your work based activity. Information about your final submission date is available when you register for the course. If you feel 6 months may not be sufficient time for your study and submission, please contact us to discuss your study options, including current final submission date before you register.


    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £295.00 Register

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2019/20 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials, exercises, study support and the work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.