Lately I’ve been thinking about what it takes to really be successful in business. Now, there are many ways you could be successful, several of which I strongly advise against. We all need to find what works for each of us, not everyone can be successful with a blog or selling door-to-door (or the 2016 equivalent). But one of the biggest divides is between those who have regular interaction with their customers and those who don’t. For example a personal trainer has lots of interaction with clients, but the company who created the cookies that you bought at the grocery store last weekend isn’t likely to talk with hardly any of their customers.
That said, in 2016 I don’t believe you can really be truly hands-off with customers. Even taking the simple example of social media shows that there really isn’t distance between a business and their customers any more as the companies interact directly with their customers through social media. It just reinforces my understanding and belief of business as a relationship between people (even if there are machines and technology between and/or connecting you).
What I’m seeing, what the research is saying, what other businesses are saying, and what the customers are saying is that there needs to be some change made so that people are at the forefront of the discussion. Do you really think about what’s best for your customer when making decisions or are you just looking at the bottom line? Do you even know if what you’re considering is needed and/or there’s a market for it (or reasonable proof seems to indicate there is)?
Business no longer means you can have distance from your customers. The best thing you can do is begin cultivating a relationship with them. Get to know them, let them get to know you, don’t dread customer service calls, retrain your employees on proper customer communication and relationships if necessary and consider all the benefits of knowing your customers better.