For many businesses, the toughest leadership test is now looming: how to maximise your ROI on human relationships in a world where isolation is the new norm. We’re encouraged to steer clear, to keep to ourselves. We’re in an age where people spend an average of two hours on social media daily, scrolling through content from all corners of the globe. Ironically, this post-Covid world has shifted us into a space where we’ve never been so globally connected, yet so alone.
This can be good for your business.
Your customers want human-to-human sales experiences
The battle against Covid has brought about many shifts in how we function as a society. People are encouraged to work from home as much as possible, which has shifted how businesses run. This means that we now, more than ever, need to focus on building human relationships with our teams, suppliers and, above all, customers and give them a face-to-face experience through online portals. It doesn’t matter what you sell – your customers want human-to-human sales experiences.
We recently gave an online seminar on maximising your ROI on human relationships, which we invite you to watch by clicking here.
Making your global your local
Covid has had a massive effect on how people use online space. From a business perspective, the phenomenal growth in Microsoft Teams and Zoom users proves the point. It proves not only that we, as a society, have shifted to a more digital existence but that businesses are entirely capable of operating in the digital space.
But what we’re seeing is that the businesses that not only survive online but thrive are those who continue to place a prioritised value on human relationships by working to keep their staff focused on collaboration and giving each customer a valuable, personalised experience.
The goal is to ensure that, through the measures you take to build personal relationships with your customers, they remember you for the next time.
In short, strive to make your global your local.
Finding a global market
Businesses with the ability to provide their products and services to a global customer base have never had a better advantage than today. With the world on social media, it’s just as easy to advertise your business to a local audience as it is to market to potential customers across the globe. It’s about finding the right buyers, no matter where they are.
Finding a global workforce
This Covid-induced shift in how we do business also means that companies are not limited to hiring staff within their own city. Now, your workforce can be anywhere in the world. This can be great news for businesses that are now unlimited by geography when hunting down the perfect team member – what an exciting time we find ourselves in!
Integrating global issues into your business model
This exciting expansion to a global workforce and customer base means you’ll need to integrate global concerns into your business model. With staff, suppliers and customers worldwide, you have to intermingle different aspects of their existence into how your business operates. For a start, you will be working with different:
- time zones
Your overseas staff may not have access to high-speed internet or computers. Your Zoom meetings may be backed by the sounds of traffic and chickens clucking because your audience doesn’t have access to noise-cancelling headphones. That Zoom meeting might have to happen at your midnight to accommodate your overseas suppliers. To successfully run an international business, you’ll need to be more globally aware and sensitive to these issues.
Global shifts in skills
The global workforce is shifting from manual skills to a more digital workforce, which can affect the way your business operates.
A global skills shortage will, somewhere down the line, affect the way your business operates.
Consider the average pair of jeans. From raw materials to floor stock, more than 15 countries are involved in the manufacturing process. The ink for the fabric is made in one country, which is then shipped to another to be applied to the denim, which is then shipped to another to be manufactured. From another country, the copper that goes into the zips and clasps is mined in one country, forged in another and assembled in another. This is all before we even factor in the distribution process to get those jeans to the buyers. You might not be in the business of making jeans, but a global skills shortage will, somewhere down the line, affect the way your business operates.
Consider this: across the globe, more and more people are trying to be Instagram influencers. That may seem inconsequential to your business, but those people trying to make it as an influencer is not out there working towards skilled jobs – mechanics, hairdressers, and other trades are diminishing. This will affect your business when you can no longer find local warehouses, manufacturers or labourers to complete the work it takes to get your products to your customers – you’ll need to hire overseas employees. This brings in new language barriers, compliance and legal issues, and rules around employment. Is your business prepared to handle these issues?
A skills shortage is not your only global concern. Your business will also need to factor in the fragility of the supply chain and be continually aware of environmental, geopolitical and supply issues wherever your suppliers, staff and customers are.
The blockage of the Suez Canal, for example, may have delayed parts or whole products getting to you on time. This also had a knock-on effect on fuel prices as one of the ships stuck in the blockage was carrying the fuel additive necessary to convert the raw product into usable fuel. Fuel prices went up, supply costs went up, and, inevitably, your customers would have either seen a price hike in your products or you would have lost out on revenue.
Understanding the fragility of the supply chain and striving to keep ahead of it is imperative to running a successful global business.
The individual perspective
The average human has the following:
- between 500-999 LinkedIn connections
- 338 Facebook friends
- 843 Instagram followers
These are your customers, and you compete with their social media, emails and other online distractions to gain their attention. You can spend hours trying to gain the system, but as soon as you stop posting, you start losing. You can no longer hide from technology – it’s everywhere, and it’s not going away. Instead, learn to go with it!
Digital natives – that is, people born in the digital age – don’t know any better. They have come to expect the same ease in dealing with companies online as they expect when shopping on Amazon – digital portals with fast connections, no wait times and quick results. But that’s not to say they expect anything less in personalisation. So, what are we striving for?
Striving for a complete service
First and foremost, everyone in your business needs to be able to provide great customer service, no matter the role they were hired to perform. If they are charged with dealing with an enquiry, they need to be able to find a resolution – fast. To get there, you’ll need to have a great internal communications platform where everybody has access to the same information when they need it. And it means ensuring your staff all receive the same training.
Every step of your journey requires you to make meaningful connections with other humans in order to succeed.
You also need to provide portals for customers to gain access to information when they need it, even when your business is closed. It might be in the form of an informative blog (such as this one ), an automated Q&A portal, or a FAQ page on your website. Your customers want to be able to access what they need when they need it, which is why providing the means for self-service is also vital.
Relationships are everything
Everything requires relationships, no matter whether you’re hiring new staff, reaching out to new audiences or building your business to new heights. Every step of your journey requires you to make meaningful connections with other humans in order to succeed.
The answer is technology – this is what’s going to enable you to manage the volume of relationships you need to succeed. Technology is what’s going to enable you to track, manage and, to some extent, automate this information.
There is predicted to be a skills shortage of coders and skilled web developers worldwide. It’s perfectly feasible that when you’re ready to put automated customer experience technology into practice, you won’t be able to find anyone to implement it for you. But this doesn’t rule you out of the game – in fact, you should view this as a good thing.
There already exists a myriad of low or no-code tools that will allow you to support your business online, doing it all yourself. You’ll keep your finger on the pulse by using such tools.
Setting yourself up with automated customer relationship processes is all about good architecture, and it’s nowhere near as complicated as you might think.
We were all unprepared for the changes Covid made to how our lives and businesses run – don’t be tough on yourself for not having yet found a way to thrive in this digital age. What we want to show you is that a global demographic can enrich your business with a bigger client base and better staffing opportunities than you may have limited yourself to in the past. But to thrive in such a digital culture, you still need to focus foremost on human relationships.
Here are a few points to remember:
- Digital natives are your growing customer base, so you’ll need to change your ways to suit their needs. Let them serve themselves, give them access to information they’ll need at any time of the day, and never market to them in a way that feels like marketing.
- Keeping your team appraised of all the information they need to offer quality customer service is imperative. To do that, you’ll need an excellent internal communications system.
- Don’t bury your head in the sand. Technology is here to stay, and if you refuse to make changes to embrace it, you put your business in peril.
- Build connections with your customers on a human level – reach out to them by name, respond to queries quickly, and take it offline occasionally for an original experience.
- Involve the customer, and ask them how they want to be communicated with. Email, WhatsApp, phone calls – whatever your customer feels most comfortable with, go with it!
The biggest thing standing in the way of switching to a more connected digital space is you. Maybe you’re frightened of the unknown, or maybe you dislike change. Whatever your reason, it’s not a good enough reason to miss out on opportunities to grow your business. Now, we’re not here to sell you anything, but if you need a hand learning new digital skills to help your business maximise your ROI on human relationships, head to the Relevate Academy at https://academy.relevate.com.au . Or get in touch with us here https://relevate.com.au/.