5 Ways to Be More Human in Business

One of the greatest things about technology is that it can make us more efficient, allow us to automate interactions, be on every corner and remain open twenty-four hours a day without the need for a human attendant.

thisisbossi via Flickr CC

And, it can wall us off from our customers and prevent us for building the kinds of relationships that help us get better at what we do, help us understand the true needs of our customers and help us build the kind of community that can sustain us through any ill wind.

When we get so good at delivering our customer interactions, devoid of any human interaction, we start to build the same kinds of relationship we might have with a vending machine.

Sure, it gets the job done, delivers as promised, is efficient and maybe even convenient, but does it know us, like us, trust us?

Over reliance on technology is a trap that’s easily set these days and one that can quickly put you out of touch with a market and certainly out of touch with the real reason for doing any of this – to serve a higher human purpose.

Below are five practices that can help keep you out of the vending machine trap.

Get out of the office

This one’s pretty obvious, but how many times do you go through an entire day without talking to anyone? Make an effort to get out and go talk to your customers, schedule a lunch a week with a potential strategic partner, mentor someone just getting started in business or conduct interviews with others in your industry.

Make referrals

This one is powerful on many levels. Get in the habit of making introductions and referrals. Support your customers, partners and suppliers through this habit and you’ll find some of richest personal interactions you can ever enjoy in business.

Create peer-2-peer interaction

Chances are your customers share some of the same challenges, wins and needs. Consider putting together quarterly forums where your customers can get together and share best practices, industry trends, unmet needs and success stories. You’ll quickly find that they crave this kind of interaction with peers and you’ll have your finger on the pulse of exactly what’s going on right now.

Conduct results reviews

One of the best reasons to reach out to customers is to ensure they actually got the results you promised. In many cases, they did, but this is great way to reinforce just what a great job you did. In some cases, something may have slipped, they may not have understood how to get a result or they just didn’t do what you told them to do. No matter what, this is a great way to find and fix a problem.

Results reviews are also a great way for you to better understand the value of what you deliver and can be a great way to document the tangible proof that gives you the confidence to raise your prices.

No reason at all

Write five handwritten notes a week. Jump on LinkedIn and say hi for no reason. Call five clients today just to make sure everything is well in their world. You don’t always need to be closing. Sometimes just thinking about someone and telling them so is the most human thing of all.

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  • brentmkelly

    Excellent post John.  These are great practical ideas that often get overlooked in our daily busy schedules.  Thanks. 

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      You’ve just got to make them part of the routine.

  • http://www.wouterkleinsman.nl/ Wouter Kleinsman

    Great post John. These tips are great to use and also pretty easy. Stop being the machine and start being a person! That’s what social media is all about.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      Yes that’s the idea behind social media, but it also makes it easier to not really be that social.

  • http://www.PineappleRM.com/ Rose

    Such simple and sincere recommendations, and each one has the potential to result in authentic personal fulfillment for both parties! 

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       Thanks Rose – go forth and practice!

  • http://www.creative-small-business-marketing.com/ Stefan Holm

    Its always a nice gesture for any company to build a friendly relationship with its customers. I work on a marketing company and I we go the extra mile to show that we care for our customers. Example, a surprise gift on their birthday!

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       Who doesn’t appreciate a surprise gift?!

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  • http://bit.ly/MEJqjz Ayeen Benoza

    I totally agree with you John.  Automated Marketing was created so that we will have more time to interact with our clients personally, to be able to relax or have coffee with them from time to time, to develop a good relationship with them without worrying about stats and numbers since marketing automation is already doing that for us.  For me this is really an exciting time to be alive and to build happy relationships and at the same time – – earning a lot. http://bit.ly/ayeen8

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I agree Ayeen this is a great time to be alive and in business.

  • Andrew Rogerson

    A great post. It’s so easy to become so task focussed … That you forget why you started your own business vis. Make a difference for your clients & enjoy yourself :-)

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       I think you almost have to force yourself out of it or you can easily fall into a rut of tasks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000103422920 Julie Musial

    It’s important to remember that face to face communication is the most powerful of all communication technology.  If you don’t talk to your customers or prospects face to face, your competition will.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       I think particularly when you blend it with the tech stuff.

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  • http://twitter.com/PR_Chase P.R. Chase

    I agree John, it seems like the more prevalent social media becomes, the less social people become. Life isn’t about being behind a computer all the time, and business relationships are fostered through personal interaction, not automated marketing messages

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       Funny that social media is making us, well, less social

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  • http://twitter.com/luvdaydreamer Brittney Phillips

    Nice article

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