Last week... you read about the VOAL formula, for "value of a like." This week... read why you must care about the customer.
In the B2B realm, says Abhay Padgaonkar, management consultant, author and speaker, and the president of Innovative Solutions Consulting, LLC (http://www.innovativesolutions.org), based in the Phoenix area, emotional attachments are formed by "four pragmatic areas":
- Do you mean what you say?
- Do you do what you say?
- Can clients always count on what you say and do?
- Do clients feel that "we are in this together"?
Importantly, says Brian Basilico, with B2B Interactive Marketing, Inc. (http://www.b2b-im.com/), in Aurora, Ill., "one of the best philosophies I have ever heard about networking is 'business is not B2b' (business to business) it's P2p (person to person). People do business with people and their knowledge, experience and expertise, not their businesses. Businesses are not people-they are organizations."
Yet, to be Likeable, businesses must "act like they care about you," says Stephen Balzac, president of 7 Steps Ahead, LLC (http://www.7stepsahead.com/).
How do they do that? Through people.
That point intuitively resonates. After all, how do most of us form impressions of the businesses we do business with? Through our interactions with people, whether those interactions take place in person, over the phone, or-increasingly-via social media. Certainly all of the brand accoutrements that businesses spend so much time, money and energy deploying through their communication activities have an impact but, when it gets right down to it, it is the combination of multiple one-to-one interactions that take place on a micro level that serve to define the personality of the business and, ultimately, how much we like that business.
This is where policies, process and training come into play.
"There needs to be some sense of accountability," says Michelle Lederman, certified coach and the founder of Executive Essentials (http://www.esecutiveessentials.org), in the New York City area. Employees need to understand the impact that they have on framing the personality of the business and, ultimately, its Likeability. This is an ongoing need that needs to be consistent and persistent. Making a commitment to providing good service and delivering on that commitment each and every time there is an encounter is not easy. "Everyone can do it when they're in a good mood, but how about when they're not?," notes Lederman.
In the B2B world, perhaps even more so than in B2C, people are everything. They represent just one of the many moving parts that businesses must bring together in a coordinated way to protect their brand. Corporations, after all, are comprised of people and people's judgments-even of organizations-often come down to personality, aka "Likeability."
Lin Grensing-Pophal has written on topics ranging from health and wellness, to careers and HR-related topics, to marketing and social media. Her most recent book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Strategic Planning" (Penguin), was released in spring 2011. Lin is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists.