If there is one certainty in business nothing ever goes perfectly. We may have really awesome productive days and then there are days we wish we could have a do-over. What we do every day with our customers dictates how they will react when things do go wrong. This is how developing sustainable social capital comes into play.
Where business moments go critically wrong is when the common practice seems to entail only interacting with customers when there are problems. We need to ask ourselves: What am I doing each day to amplify the positive reasons why this person or company is doing business with me? There is one point that I have learned over the years is the feel-good aura when you know someone is paying attention to details. We can see that overwhelmingly in the hospitality industry. Disney is one of my favorite case studies that demonstrate how much attention is paid to the little things. The fact of the matter is that people thrive on the little things because it demonstrates our commitment to them. Have you clearly identified what those little things are for your business?
Identifying and focusing on those little things is just part of a numerous step program that will keep your customers from tearing your head off when things go wrong. Above and beyond the initial transaction, what tools are you using to keep in touch with them? Social media of course allows us to handle this in many ways not possible just years ago. With Facebook, you can use lists to filter our client’s business pages. With Twitter you can make columns to monitor only your current client bases conversations and with LinkedIn you can follow companies that have a profile to keep tabs on any updates that are occurring. All of that data helps when you interact on line, when you send an email or if you have that phone call or business lunch. Getting to know your clients should be part of an ongoing program.
What this certainly demonstrates is that you are much more interested in that initial transaction. It clearly shows your long-term commitment to them and to their company. People are tired of switching!! How much of a pain is to switch banks, phone, and cable companies? That is just on a consumer level. Translate that to what occurs on a business to business level. I firmly believe that this is one of the reasons why sales cycles can be so long. We don’t trust people. It is very hard to earn that trust. That is why to me, a major part of doing business should have a well laid out program of being able to sustain that business by building that social capital. It comes in real handy when things do go wrong and in my experience softens the negative moments enough to get things on track and prove to your client who you really are and what you represent.
I am interested in hearing how much this topic is part of your conversation in the office and what practices you employ to develop your social capital. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Written by Jonathan Saar