Humans like dealing with humans. It could be an unnatural fear brought on by generations raised on Terminator movies. Or it could be that with so much technology wedging itself between people these days, most yearn for personal connection. There are over 100 billion emails sent every day. (Source: Mashable) Last year, U.S. adults spent an average of five hours on digital devices. (Source: Huffington Post) For those online, 27 percent of that time is dedicated to just social media. (Source: Marketingland) The cold, hard presence of technology is everywhere and whether people know it or not, they crave something more intimate. Most business owners understand the value of creating a community. One of the ways to differentiate your business is through creating cohesive human relationships, whether they are on or offline. In order to achieve this, customers have to have an emotional tie to you, your business and your cause. . If you can build a human connection with customers and prospects your business can not only retain, but also earn new customers. Socialnomics tell us that 90 percent of customers trust peer recommendations. So why not try to become friends with your audience? Building this type of community isn’t built in a week. It takes time and requires a foundation of trust. But you can start sending out the good vibes right away by making small changes to how you currently operate.
One of the easiest ways to show your business is inhuman is by demonstrating online that you don’t even communicate well within your company. Everyone in your company who is in contact with your customers needs to communicate with consistency. With the ever-present status of social media, you are all in the spotlight, every day. Team alignment is key; you can’t talk about one special in an email, then a different sale on Facebook. Even worse, you don’t want to have one employee offering to help your customer while another says there is nothing they can do. A mismatch in communication like this shows that you don’t care to make things easy on your customer or your team, which gives you the reputation of being a faceless (and maybe even heartless) owner. Have a comprehensive communication plan that everyone attached to your business can follow—simplicity and alignment among your team will prevent confusing your customers. Remember to focus on the customer, not the money.
2. Don’t blatantly sell
Few business tactics make consumers feel less emotionally engaged than when a company treats them like a walking talking wallet. Instead of relentlessly posting about your products and services and how great they are, share experiences:
- Demonstrate your understanding of your customers’ pain points.
- Show the joyful moments you know both you and your audience appreciate.
- Solve problems for free.
Resist the urge to talk only about your money-earning elements. People are sensitive about how and where they spend their hard earned dollars and any business acting like they are owed a sale will turn off customers. Understand that people are looking for solutions when they shop, so help to solve things for your customer before you try to sell to them.
3. Appreciate attention
Positive attention can be a scarce commodity in business, undoubtedly though, you’ve had good customers willing to sing your praises. Are you receiving these compliments graciously? Customer service isn’t just about solving problems that go wrong swiftly and effectively. Truly delighting customers means you pay the same amount of attention to your happiest customers as well as your dissatisfied ones. Say thank you when you get a good review. Host a customer appreciation day. Consumers know that without them, businesses would cease to exist and sometimes they crave acknowledgment for that. Never let your good customers forget that you respect and appreciate their loyalty. Existing customers and prospects will feel more drawn to you if you showcase your humanity and expose how emotionally grateful you are for the business you’ve been given thus far.
Whether it’s on your website, blog or social media page, remember to explain who you are and what your business stands for. If there is something unsavory about your service or there is an obstacle that comes with using your product, address it. Consumers are very leery of business they suspect or know is beating around the bush. When people believe you are hiding something or omitting information from them, they will avoid you – they’ll probably even run the opposite direction. Honesty really is the best policy and no relationship is built without it. You want to make sure your customers like you because people do business with people they like. And people struggle to like companies that they can’t trust. If you make a mistake or know that there is a flaw in your business, get ahead of the curb. Nobody is perfect and people know that and can respect someone who admits they’ve made a mistake. Flaws are arguably the most human trait. So sugar coating issues and dodging hard questions does not endear your business to anyone. The demand for personal relationships in business is at an all-time high. Even small businesses that have care at their core can come off icy and callus if they don’t bridge the emotional gap that technology creates. You may never be able to shake hands with every customer or learn the names of every prospects’ first born, but you can fix your persona to foster humanity. Fortunately, today’s web tools and social networks make it simpler for people to engage with each other on a more personal level. Use them for what they were intended for: making a connection. If you treat those tools like an instrument to make a sale it will do little to warm your audience to your business. Make an effort to create ways to humanize your interactions and online presence.