Many of our business management consulting clients have a desire to leverage technology within their businesses. Of course, this makes sense. Facebook Messenger bots, Automated Advertising Retargeting, Human Resource Management (HRM) platforms, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software integration, AI customer value determination, etc. quickly enter marketing and business strategy conversations with our Denver, CO and national customer base. While we're huge techies ourselves, it good to remember that there's an actual person behind the "persona" and a real customer represented by the customer relations management database.
I dread the day when AI is talking to itself as both the customer and vendor without any actual human involvement. The day may be close...but, that day is not today! The value of talking with an actual person still remains. The impact that customers, employees, and communication have on a business is profound, yet so often overlooked.
Without customers there's no need for whatever products or services a business provides; therefore, there's no need for the business to even exist. Likewise, without customers there is no need for employees.
Certainly, some customers are easier to deal with than others, but all are important for the long-term sustainability of a business. When a business incorporates the philosophy of "customers first" into a written or implied mission statement, customers notice that type of attitude. Customers purchase for benefits and solutions to problems. They want value for the money they spend with a business and, also, want to feel valued. We'll talk about conscious vs. subconscious purchase decision making in another blog.
A simple "thanks" or "we appreciate your business" can make the difference between one business and its competition. This just might be the additional edge needed by a business to set it apart from the competition.
Who's the most important customer or client? It should be the person coming into a business, sitting across the desk from a sales person, or calling on the phone. When each and every person is the most important customer a business has at that exact moment in time, it tends to create a loyal customer. Business growth is created when new customers are added to an existing customer base. When treated right, new customers then become loyal customers over time.
It's far less costly and time consuming to retain loyal customers than always prospecting for new ones.
Employees are a company's most valuable assets but like customers, they can be taken for granted. Without employees a business cannot operate. Without committed employees, a business cannot function at needed peak efficiency. If employees are not on board, then customers are not treated with the care that's necessary to ensure that they'll return to repeat their buying experience and recommend your business to others.
It takes more than just issuing a paycheck to build employee loyalty. Owners and managers must set examples for conduct, ethics, and customer attitude. A culture must be established, so employees feel a sense of importance and pride. Respect works both ways. Owners and managers must show respect to employees, so they in turn show respect back to the company and, ultimately, its customers. Small gestures of appreciation go a long way. "Please" and "Thank you" are not out-of-pocket expense items and show amazing ROI. Compliments rather than complaints can do wonders for attitudes.
Excite, engage, and train employees. The long-term benefits will more than outweigh the efforts.
Communication is a key factor when dealing with anyone in business – customers, employees, vendors, investors, etc. It's important to keep an open mind – listen, think, and then respond. Different opinions exist all the time. Perhaps, one opinion is the best or perhaps not. It's only through open and honest communication that real progress can be made between individuals. Innovative ideas, positive change, collaboration, employee buy-in, delegation, motivation, leadership development, or problem-solving are all the result of positive, proactive communication.
Nothing can be accomplished without communication. Whether results are positive or negative will often depend on how things are communicated.
Technology has brought amazing capabilities to business operations and management. I wouldn't dream of running a business without data analytics and process automation. We just need to remember that there's an actual person behind the "persona" and a real employee represented by the HRM database.