Long-time industry contributor in Australia, Joe Perri, highlights the value of adopting a more ‘humanised’ approach to client relationships – and the benefits that flow from it – in what’s becoming an increasingly tech world of advice and communications…
The thought of a prospective client deleting my email unopened was enough to spur me to find a better way to achieve the necessary cut-through – and the personal salutation and signed letter did just that.
Furthermore, I humanised the one-page letter by including my photo.
The pay-off was immediate. The first business owner that I contacted using this approach agreed to see me and is now a client. Even more extraordinary was that he’s a tech-savvy Millennial and appreciated that someone took the time to treat him with respect – as an individual – as a human being.
Not every follow up has been as successful – and I appreciate that my marketing communication and PR services aren’t on every prospect’s shopping list of must have services.
However, in the majority of cases, my client targets remembered receiving the signed letter with the photo; or it was in the in-tray waiting for the call.
Nor have I yet to have a negative experience when following up.
By far the best experience was the call, “Joe, I received your letter and have phoned personally because I appreciated the effort you made. I don’t need your services at the moment but will definitely call when my circumstances change”.
my recent experience has reaffirmed that the person-to-person era is still here
Like so many businesspeople, I spend an inordinate amount of time deleting unsolicited emails each and every day. I’m sure that many a potential opportunity to improve my business was deleted without a second thought amongst the unceasing static that invades my inbox 24/7.
However, my recent experience has reaffirmed that the person-to-person era is still here and if looking for a new client or seeking to retain existing clients, the personal connection remains immensely powerful and effective.
Technology has – and continues to be – the great enabler in business. In no way would I advocate returning to snail mail for all personal and commercial activities – that era is long gone.
The issue is that with each additional staff member or advance in technology, outsourcing, etc. – the vacuum of freed time is immediately refilled with even more work and issues to deal with and address than previously.
Far from technology being the great saviour delivering much needed free time to focus on the business, including better client connectivity/engagement and work/life balance – in far too many cases it’s been the exact opposite.
Technology, constantly changing legislation and resultant demands on administration is relentless. In trying to cope and keep your head above water, something has to give.
In the case of business owners, they’re left with little option but to reluctantly sacrifice the time they hoped to devote to client experience activities.
There’s no doubt that it’s an extraordinarily challenging environment in business today. Every principal aspires to deliver the highest standards of service that will be appreciated by clients.
Far from technology being the great saviour in far too many cases it’s been the exact opposite
They acknowledge that clients who receive personal service become better clients and passionate brand ambassadors. But far too often the gap between perception and reality is immense and getting wider.
Whether it be Baby Boomers or Millennials, two things they generally have in common are:
- No one wants to be treated impersonally
- No one wants to be treated as a number
Therein lies the challenge.
Take for example the humble e-newsletter that supposedly reinforces B2C relationships – but instead is deleted without being opened by the recipient.
How often does the adviser, broker, lawyer or accountant go the extra mile to demonstrate their insight into a client’s circumstances by incorporating a personal note, “Hi Rob – attached is our latest e-newsletter. I’m sure you and Mary will find the article about holiday homes of particular interest…”
This is a small personal gesture in a crowded and demanding work day – but the pay off is immense with deeper connections and demonstration of care and personal service beyond the annual review meeting.
Irrespective of technology’s march forward, the benefits of personal service have never faded or gone unappreciated over time. However, finding the time to do so effectively is the real challenge.
I made the time – and it’s paid off.
Managing Director Mr. Joe Perri founded the company in 1995 after working for more than 22 years in the corporate sector.
Since then, Joe Perri & Associates has grown to provide PR and marketing focussed communication strategies / solutions for clients in the corporate, SME and non-profit sectors that help them achieve their strategic business aspirations.
Joe Perri’s goal is to help clients more clearly define their overall communication objectives and then implement the most appropriate strategy to reach their target audience more effectively.
Every day, Joe Perri draws on his experience to enable clients to improve their business relationship, communication and brand / profile with customers, shareholders, distributors, the media and staff.