The impact of digital technology has been overwhelming. Everyday interactions have been turned over to digital exchanges. But, people are quickly realizing that they miss the human connection. In a world of numbers and efficiencies, we talk a lot about automation. But, there is one thing that should not be entirely automated, and that is your interactions with your customers. Technology should be implemented to enhance the consumer-business relationship, not replace it.
“As connected as we are now, there is still a fundamental disconnect between people and the companies that attempt to reach them through these technologies.” -Danny Chan for Huff Post
In a world of social media and digital technology, it almost seems counterintuitive to focus on human connections. But, the reality is, business owners have to be more aware, and work harder than ever, to build and maintain connections with customers and to be as human as possible in this digital world.
Quality Over Quantity
One quality, in-person exchange with a customer will build more trust and go farther than 1,000 unopened emails. A firm handshake, eye contact, and a friendly smile make you so much more relevant to a customer than an unnoticed aggressive email marketing campaign. Since we do operate in a digital world, face-to-face interactions sometimes aren’t an option. Pick up the phone. Not to send a text message, but to make a good, old-fashioned phone call. To your customer, you just took the time to show them that they are worth your time, and they know your time is precious.
Try Something New and Go Live
When it’s not possible to make direct contact with your customers, social media has wonderful tools for connecting with your audience in a way that resonates with them. A step above Stories, Live streaming is changing the marketing game. You can deliver information to your customers in real time! Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have live functions. Tap into this fantastic resource and let your customers into your personal, or your brand’s, world. Live streaming is designed to be interactive. Users can comment during your stream and you can respond to their questions. It allows you to have a conversation.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
While we’re over here focusing on how to maintain the human connection with our customers, it’s equally as important for YOU, the small business owner, to maintain human connection. Being a small business owner can be a lonely existence. All of your free time is spent building up your brand. You’re tight for cash because you’re using all of your funds to fuel a new start-up. It’s so important to take time to invest in human connection for yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas:
- Start co-working—it’s where remote employees who generally aren’t otherwise connected, gather to work side-by-side. It can really help create a feeling of “office morale” that you may be missing.
- Attend industry and networking events—you’ll get to chat with clients, stay relevant on current industry standards, and you will probably make some great business contacts that might turn into friends.
- Reach out to other small business owners in your community—if you’re lonely and looking for support and human connection, chances are there are others in the same boat.