I am a firm believer that we need to personalize and humanize our companies and brands in this digital world we live in today. Although there are good points and bad points in being online – for example, you can communicate by email vs. a telephone call and save time in your day – I think we have reached the point where we now crave the human contact and communication we are missing when we solely engage online for all of our “conversations”. And companies who understand this, I believe will be the winners in business.
The fact of the matter is – people do business with people, not companies. Particularly, we don’t enjoy doing business with nameless, faceless businesses. There are people behind every company. We do business with John from Sony or Patricia from Apple. Yes, we may love Sony and Apple products but it is the relationships we build with the people from these companies that contributes to keeping us coming back time and time again. When you are happy with the service you receive, from a person – a live human being, you are apt to return and do business with this company again. In many cases when you are happy with the relationship you have built, a lower price might not even be enough to entice you away from the company you love. But a bad human experience, in this case a customer experience, can encourage you to abandon your loyalty to a company. Even a non-descript, non-special experience with a company, one that may lack the human touch, can also encourage a lack of brand loyalty. There is no personal investment in this brand by the customer at this point and when there is no personal relationship, it is very easy to be persuaded to try the competitor brands. Think of how easy it is to deliver bad news or “break up” when you do not have to look the person in the eye. Sometimes with a business, you don’t even have to tell them you are not coming back to them. You just stop. You don’t call them. They don’t call you. Very easy.
Take, for example, an HVAC company. These companies are in a tough spot in that there are dozens and dozens of companies, just like themselves, who all do the same thing…especially here in Arizona. This raises the question – how does an HVAC company differentiate itself from all the others and make their customers WANT to do business with them?
The answer is – the people they employ. The human touch. A memorable customer experience. A personal relationship. The extra step your competitors may not be taking.
When you do research on a company because you are thinking about engaging them in business, do you look at their “About Us” page on their website? How often is there good information on that page? How often is there not enough information on that page which would help you understand who you will be doing business with? Are there even any pictures there, to help you put a name to a face and a face to a name? If you have a very generic page, with no information about you and your team and no photos, you are not really showing the real-life people who make up your company and who make your company a living, breathing entity.
Yes, people make up your company and you should be proud of them if you employ them. A page that merely tells of generic company information, mission and vision statements and contains generic statements like “customer service is our priority” – really doesn’t tell you much at all.
- What kind of people make up your team?
- What kind of character makes up the leadership team and other team members?
- What kind of culture does this company employ?
- Are the employees valued members of the team?
As you do this research on the potential company you may engage in business, do you look further than their website? Like a social media outlet – such as LinkedIn to check out the people who may be listed on the “About Us” page on their website. Not having your photo there contributes to promoting the nameless, faceless professional who works at a company lacking the human touch. It’s so impersonal and doesn’t promote people and it is people with whom you will be forming a relationship. And for yourself – you are not helping to build the relationships you will need to work with your customers, but using a non-personal approach. Have you ever noticed how a relationship changes once you meet someone for the first time, that you have been conversing with for a while? With the personal online approach, you often feel like you know the person already.
Business is about people – it’s all about you, the customer, and the people you form relationships with, at the companies you engage.
Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.