Welcome to the Nice Guy Blog

Viewing entries in
Return on Relationship

2 Comments

A little known secret about relationship building

Consider for a moment that relationships are like airplanes moving from takeoff to landing, point A to point B.  Wind, weather and other circumstances both natural and mechanical will determine how efficiently and effectively that airplane travels between these two points. The pilot, a trained professional, has two major responsibilities. First, he must prepare and take precautionary steps, including adjusting the plane’s altitude, speed and mechanical controls, avoiding danger along the route. And second, he must react to the circumstances and conditions presented, keeping the plane and all occupants safe the entire flight. He has no control of the circumstances. He is able to control his actions as they relate to those circumstances. Wind shear, weather patterns, and unexpected mechanical emergencies are outside of his control. However, with proper training and discipline, the pilot will be prepared in the event any issues arise during flight. Even when no adverse circumstances are presented, the pilot, co-pilot and other staff are constantly checking conditions, monitoring variables and making adjustments. These adjustments are needed to keep the plane safe from mechanical danger, allow for a smooth journey for the passengers and to ensure an on-time, safe arrival at their final destination.

 

Relationships are much the same way. If you get involved with someone, whether it’s personal or business, be aware that relationships are not static. By nature, relationships are dynamic, always changing. Making adjustments along the way is very important, even if you do not necessarily sense a big change in conditions; just like on that airplane.

Little changes made along the way will have a lasting impression in the long run.  The secret? It’s so much easier to make small, almost unnoticeable adjustments along the way than to make big changes to your relationships. As a matter of fact, the small actions you take will be fun, create lasting memories and be easy to institute. Conversely, making big changes could potentially rip the fabric of your sometimes fragile relationships. Even relationships you think are not fragile can be very delicate. And since many people do not like change, it may potentially destroy a relationship you have built.  

Put small, everyday positive actions into your personal relationships and you will find your relationships will flourish.  The effort will be minimal but the impact will be tremendous. Telling your partner, "I love you," leaving small notes on the kitchen counter, a 30 second phone call during a busy day just to say, "Thinking about you." Something as simple as a single flower picked from the garden or purchased at the gas station when filling up. The point is, it doesn't really matter what you do, but the mere action of doing something shows you really care. 

Don’t assume your partner knows how you feel just because you help contribute to the monthly rent payment or that you cleaned up your dishes in the sink. Keep the spark alive and the fire of the relationship burning.  It reminds me of the couple that has been cold to each other for years, not communicating properly or showing affection toward each other. When asked about it, years later in therapy, while trying to salvage their failing marriage, one of the partners says, “I don’t understand what happened. I told her I loved her when we got married. I promised that day if anything changes, I would let her know. Nothing has changed, I’m not sure why she’s so mad all the time. Now that we are in therapy, I bought her a Mercedes and she’s still angry with me.” Show affection before it’s too late and appreciate your partner now and stop taking them for granted.

As it relates to a professional relationship, it’s the little things like sending a handwritten note to say thanks for the business, a text message to say “hello, I appreciate you and your business,” or a well-timed delivery of donuts or goodies that says, “You are awesome!” 

Every relationship requires work, effort, patience and understanding. As your relationship begins, lots of energy is expended getting it moving, just like a plane during takeoff. But once airborne, even small shifts in steering and other instruments, over the long haul, can make dramatic changes to the journey. Make adjustments and take positive action to improve the relationships in your life. The words, just because, will create lasting, positive results. As your relationship develops, your actions, even small ones under the guise of, just because, will help steer the direction of your relationship. So what are you waiting for, send out that text message, pen that handwritten thank you note or hand deliver those cupcakes to someone special in your life. And if asked why, tell them, “It's the little things.”

2 Comments

Where have all the humans gone?

1 Comment

Where have all the humans gone?

Recent experiences with my credit card company, a local hardware store and a home delivery food service company have me pondering the simple question, where have all the humans gone?

"Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed." More than menu options have changed in today's automation age; relationships are falling by the wayside and the customer journey is being detoured as companies hide behind the guise of increased efficiency, more specific analytics, better customer service, improved productivity and big dollar savings as reasons.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
— Sam Walton

There has been a paradigm shift in the way organizations big and small deal with incoming customer traffic. Phone automation including interactive voice response (IVR) has taken over. The improper overuse of phone automation is pushing clients to competition, damaging a company's reputation and frustrating customers. If a little is good, a lot must be much better. NOT! Reception has been replaced by an 800-number, a voice activated robot and a touch tone keypad. When poorly implemented, the customer experience suffers, along with any positive vibes we had about the company. Failing service grades equate to lost business. We will spend our money somewhere else.

Don't get me wrong, when it comes to technology, I am all in, but if you want to really frustrate me, try wasting my time and I will take my business to the competition faster than you can say, "Please hold, your call will be answered shortly."



Is it just me or does it seem like no one wants to talk anymore? Call me old school, but when I pick up the phone to call a company, I'd love to have an opportunity to quickly, if not immediately, speak to a human being. Business has gotten wise to guys like me, so they have replaced the "Operator" button (0) with the, "Please listen carefully..." auto-response. They claim to appreciate my business, at least that's what they tell me 12 times as I am waiting on hold because they are experiencing call volume higher than normal. With all the analytics companies have access to, shouldn't they know when to expect "higher than normal" call volume and staff accordingly? And while I appreciate that they are working with other important customers just like me, I am thinking these other customers must have the inside skinny on how to reach a human being faster than I do.

Is our business really as important to them as the robotic voice claims? In theory I am sure it is, but in practice I think not. At a time when exposure to a customer should be at it's highest, companies are doing their best to avoid human contact. And while they think we might appreciate the automated instructions on how to access frequently asked questions on their website, we would have done that already if we thought we could find the answer quickly. Finding the solution to the problem online is even more challenging than finding the 800-number to call to reach a human being.



As a result of hammering, stammering and manipulating my way through automation, unlocking the secret passage, making it to the bonus round and actually speaking to a person, why is my reward sometimes a stiff, ill-prepared, script reading, mumbling representative with their headset microphone adjusted too close to their mouth? Attention C-level execs, business owners, customer service managers and people in a position of authority, if you are going to make me climb to the top of the phone tree, at least make the reward of speaking to a real person a satisfying victory. Invest in training your front line, your business depends upon it.

Maybe one day there will be touchtone keys for empathy, compassion, rapport and appreciation. In the meantime I will continue hitting the "0" button, waiting for a human to pick up the phone. I hear Tuesdays and Thursdays before 7AM are days they experience their lightest call volume, at least that's what their robot tells me.

1 Comment

Forget Content, Contact is King

Comment

Forget Content, Contact is King

Marketing basics 2016, “Content is King.”  The problem you’ll face with that 101 approach is that no matter how amazing your content is, you are missing the bigger picture.  Using your content to broadcast your message to the masses will do little in today’s social world. Building business relationships, in conjunction with your marketing program will get the biggest impact from all of the content you are creating. 

People want a connection with you, they don’t just want to be force fed your content. If marketing is a spoke of the wheel, relationship(s) is the air that fills the tire.  Engage and get involved or your marketing will be flat.  Change the tone from, I can provide this for you, to, let’s communicate and work on this solution together.

Comment

How Twitter Messed Up Everything

1 Comment

How Twitter Messed Up Everything

Twitter messed everything up and I love it. Talk about equaling the playing field between the little guy and big business. Twitter’s 300 million users spread their wings about 500 million times every day using this short message social channel. With nearly half of the tweets generated from mobile, it’s no wonder small businesses are making it a challenge for big business to keep up; and that’s just one reason. But keep running hard little tweeter, big bird business is getting wise to us.

Exactly how much can you say in 140 characters on Twitter? Whether you are a small player or big business, you get the same amount of real estate; 160 characters was the SMS text message limit, so the founders thought the 140 character limit was good. Although big business is able to dump big money into advertising dollars on Twitter, it’s not ad money that generates the biggest bang. People sharing ideas, product reviews, advice, inspiration and real life relationships and experiences with products and services are what hits a homerun with other Tweeps (users of the social media giant). And if you get to be a pro at building relationships, 140 characters at a time, it can be a grand slam for your business too.

1 Comment