Just Business… Nothing Personal… Of course business is personal. The concept that somehow when we call something “business” the personal touch to the end user and/or potential customer becomes less important is just wrong. I don’t care if you’re the owner of a small “mom and pop” organization or the CEO of a global conglomerate all business is personal or at least it should be.
Talking with one of my daughters some time ago I realized that she and her circle of friends really hate “big business”. There were many reasons for this with most of them, as a self-proclaimed capitalist, hard for me to swallow. With that said… her fears that she and her family could grow up without the personal touch from a small local business struck a chord with me. She wants to keep her eclectic world intact and not have it white washed with a corporate brand and insincere customer relationship. Interesting.
“Small businesses have a huge advantage. They know their customers. Large businesses don’t. Small businesses which become large businesses forget their customers.” – Jon Stow
Is knowing your customer all that important to the customer?
Yes… and it goes deeper than that. It’s more than knowing… it’s really the relationship. It’s them “feeling the love” so to speak. When a customer became upset how was their issue resolved? Personally and tactfully or did your employee regurgitate dated company policy? Was there a real concern with their purchase or were they just another company statistic?
So how does a business maintain that elusive personal touch?
Companies of all sizes need to take a deep look at their processes, how they affect and effect their potential and existing customers. “What can we do to become less institutional in our customer interaction” should be part of your updated mission statement. Here are some items to consider:
4 Ways to Keep Your Business personal
1. Social Media Monitoring
For both small and larger businesses having someone monitor their social media representation is a must. When disparaging tweets, statuses, etc.. appear have a real person contact the connection and sincerely ask what they could do to help. This same technique would apply to any web, social media, kudos given with a personal thanks in return. I have experienced this first hand and instantly my perception of that company changed after being contacted. Sprout Social is a tool that I recommend highly to help you with this.
2. Return Policies
One of the few big business personal advantages is in returns. Most large stores offer no hassle returns. I have to admit when a small business has a strict return policy I am turned off. Many times this is the very reason I go elsewhere.
Small businesses simply can’t afford returns because of the return policies of their vendors to them. It is imperative that a small business team up with a solid vendor with a liberal return policy or the big box store will win out.
“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” -Ronald Reagan
3. Personal Visits
If you sell business to business having an upper manager, owner/principal, and/or President, CEO, etc. visit the existing base of customers/partners is huge. No more filtered information but first hand knowledge of how the customer feels about the company and service. This is a personal touch must!
4. Retaining Personnel and Direction
As soon as a small business hires someone they become subject to the same loss of personal touch issues as a big business. It is imperative to hire correctly and subsidize accordingly. Long term employees help tremendously in not only knowing customers but offering a consistent personal touch. It is also just as important to have clear direction, and policies in place, towards fulfilling a personal touch and correct customer interaction company goal. You may think you have this in place. Take a minute and think… if I were buying from my company would I feel “the love” desired to keep me coming back?
These are just a few ideas of how any company can achieve the personal touch desired by most. Do you and your company a favor and make business personal.© 2006-2018 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF | Posted on