Business is business, they say. But when it comes down to it, business is also personal. Let me give you an example.
Late last Friday evening I received an email from a customer. The customer wrote to express satisfaction and to thank me for the way our team has been supporting his staff for the last several months.
I felt a great deal of satisfaction when I read this message, even though I had almost nothing to do with the success this customer experienced. I was proud of the work my team did to warrant these comments.
Of course there is a back story….
This was not an unsolicited email – a few months prior, the customer had shared with me his concern that his staff wasn’t getting the support they needed from us. His email to me now was in response to my inquiry: “How are we doing?”
One of our implementation specialists deployed GainSeeker Suite SPC Software at this company last spring. This was a three plant deployment, part of a much larger corporate effort. He was on-site for several weeks during this process. When you’re working intensely and collaboratively with a small group of people for several weeks, it seems natural to form bonds of trust and even friendship. It is not unusual to learn something about each others families, interests, and what makes each of you tick.
But at the end of that time, this is business. Our people don’t come home and wait for the phone to ring; they’re on to the next project.
To the customer, this may feel a little like they’ve been abandoned. During the weeks of intense collaboration, they should have come to feel like they’ve had priority treatment. Now something has changed. They’ve come to depend on an individual, but they find that they send him (or her) an email and they don’t get an immediate answer. That’s what happened for this customer, and back in July I got a call from the Director of IT asking for help.
The help I offered was a simple suggestion: have your people copy firstname.lastname@example.org on any email they send to their contact.
We have staff always monitoring that mailbox, and whenever something comes in, we log it in our call tracking system, and someone gets assigned to it.
Typically, the person who picks up the incident isn’t the one who did the initial project. But he (or she) can form a fast and effective conduit between his colleague and the customer, and the net result is that the customer gets faster (and ultimately better) service. Moreover, many more people in our organization develop a personal commitment to that customer’s success. We widen the bonds of trust and even friendship to a broader circle of persons, and deepen the personal relationships underlying the business/professional relationships.
I don’t set out to create friends in business, but I find it satisfying to create an organization that systematically builds bonds of trust and respect between our colleagues and our customers.
How have you experienced bonds of trust and respect in business? What systems enable those bonds to build and grow? Use the ShareThis button below to mark this page, leave a comment, schedule a conversation, or call 800-958-2709.