If we are building relationships for life, whether with our clients, our team or our external suppliers and advisers, it's vital to maintain the personal touch.
You must have the information technology systems in place that will help you achieve high productivity, but personal interaction with your clients must be part of your ongoing plan. This is non-negotiable. It doesn’t have to be you, but somebody in your business must always be ready to deal with your customers in person.
Why is this so important?
Because people do business with people they trust, and nobody can trust a computer. Now, don’t get me wrong – IT is critical in business, but you must ensure that it doesn’t replace human interaction with your clients. We’re living in a world where the people element must always be present in your business, no matter what your high-tech approach is.
Don’t be a faceless company.
Don’t deal with your clients exclusively through your website or an automated phone service. Your clients don’t want you to add to their problems, they want you to solve them. Build a reputation for being a people-friendly business, not a group of mindless drones hiding behind a bunch of computers.
The leverage offered by technology is great, but so is being human. Being ‘high touch’ means that as they work their way through your sales structure your customers have regular contact with a living and breathing human being.
Give them a number they can call, and make sure it’s answered by a person, not a machine. Give them the name of a customer concierge they can deal with, and make sure that person follows through on their transaction.
There’s nothing more annoying for customers than having to deal with a different person each time they contact your company.
To make sure you continue to be high touch as you grow, the people element of your business needs to be scalable. As your business grows, the number of customer service staff, support staff, receptionists, call centre staff, and all your other customer functions need to grow with it, just slightly ahead of demand.
The high touch aspect of your business is also about making an emotional connection. For a chain of coffee shops, this could be baking muffins at the front of the store, so that the smell greets people as they walk in. Or if you run a car service centre, have a nice reception area with a coffee machine and a full-time receptionist to make clients feel welcome; don’t make them walk into your greasy and grimy workshop.
To achieve maximum results in minimum time there must be an element of high technology.
But it must be about making people more efficient – it’s not about let’s set up this new tool because it’s the latest toy.
How are you maintaining the personal touch in your business?
Power to you!
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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