How Relationships are the Most Important Factor in your Personal and Professional Success
“Today’s illiterate are those who have an inability to truly make a deep connection with others.”
Since I was old enough to remember, my life’s obsession was to play shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. I worked at it. I was committed and passionate, and nothing was going to stop me. Except for maybe the lack of a little talent or, in my case, the lack of a lot of talent. No matter how hard I worked, there was absolutely no way I was ever going to play in the big leagues. There are certain genetic skills we are either born with or not. And if not, there is not much we can do about it.
There are skills we can develop, however, and of all these, there is one that when mastered will, without question, have the biggest impact on us in both our personal and professional life. That skill is the ability to build an instant connection with others. This is way more than a mere communication skill. It is the ability to communicate with a purpose—to build your community at every stage of your life. Building relationships, whether an acquaintance, friend, customer, coworker, or a total stranger, is far and away the most important skill every human being should be taught at an early age and then should hone throughout life. This skill should be taught at home, in school from pre-kindergarten to graduate school, and, of course, in business. Unfortunately, it is rarely taught in any formal way.
The Lost Art of Building Rapport
Today we are living in the “digital disruption era.” Technology has provided us with unprecedented advances, information, knowledge, instant access, and entertainment. We have computers, mobile phones, tablets, the internet, social media, apps, Zoom, and artificial intelligence—assistants like Siri and Alexa, chatbots, virtual concierges, facial recognition, and self-driving cars.
However, as convenient as these advances make our lives, they also have changed the way we communicate, behave, and think and have led to a dramatic decline in social interaction and our people skills. As a society, we are now relationship disadvantaged. We no longer become curious about others or eager to engage in conversations. The younger generation primarily communicates electronically, and the explosion of e-commerce, even before the pandemic, resulted in people going out less and less. In business, multi-channel communication has dramatically reduced phone calls to companies; customers can get answers and place orders via email, on websites, or through social media channels.
The pendulum has swung over to high tech and low touch. Consequently, we long for a sense of community, belonging, and purpose, a world in which people know our name, what we do, what is important to us, and have trust in one another. We long for meaningful relationships. Today trust is an endangered value. Those who understand that human touch is the most important part of any experience—especially a great customer experience—will flourish. Personally and professionally, success is increasingly about creating and building human connections.
Relationships Are More Vital Than Ever in the Business World
Understand this: There is an Uber coming to every industry. Uber is part of the digital disruption that completely turned the taxi and limousine industries upside down. But you can track similar developments in other realms. Amazon has disrupted nearly all retail businesses—grocery stores, health insurance, banks, home security, entertainment, pharmacies, and shipping, and it continues to expand into other fields. Airbnb has disrupted the hotel industry. Netflix wiped out video rental stores.
No business is safe. In the past, cutting-edge innovation had a much longer shelf life in overcoming competition. Now, however, many of your competitors can replicate your innovations and quickly reduce any temporary advantage you had in the market. The answer cannot just be about technology, either. To be sure, technological advancements are critical to every business staying relevant. However, technology by itself is not a differentiator. The more you place technology between the company and the customer, the more you remove the human experience.
People crave human interaction. Customers desire recognition and a personalized experience; technology can never be empathetic or build professional relationships. In short, technology cannot provide genuine hospitality. It cannot express empathy, make people feel cared for, express emotions and vulnerability in a relatable way, or make people smile and laugh.
For anyone and any business to thrive in the future, they will have to master the art of relationship building.
A Relationship-Building Strategy
A study by the Relational Capital Group revealed that 89 percent of senior leaders believe that relationships are the most important factor in their success year over year. However, the study further indicated that less than 5 percent of organizations actually have any specific strategies for helping their professionals develop and strengthen the relationships required to achieve their goals. This isn’t just about building soft skills; it is about creating the training to educate employees on how to build stronger interpersonal relationships that will provide them with a more fulfilling professional life. Best of all, it translates into a more fulfilling personal life. This training needs to consist of being authentic, having insatiable curiosity, more empathy, active listening, and increasing their emotional intelligence.
There is a seismic shift happening today. Technology is changing the world, and not always for the better. For all the benefits it is bringing to businesses, it is coming at a significant cost. The cost is weaker human relationships that are vital to customer experiences, employee experiences, and happiness. Focusing strictly on a digital experience will eliminate customer loyalty and emotional connection to a brand, which is why the Relationship Economy is emerging. Business leaders around the world must take advantage of technology advancements while balancing a human experience that people crave, want, and need.
You need to make your entire organization relationship-centric from the inside out. Customers and employees don’t recommend businesses they like; they recommend businesses they love. When you accomplish that, you make yourself and your brand competitor-proof and irreplaceable.
𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐞 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐬 “𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬.”
A novel customer-service training curriculum, never taught to police before, is coming to Charlotte. CMPD has hired The DiJulius Group, a national consulting firm, to train its 2,300 employees in the fine points of the firm’s “Customer Service Revolution.” Read entire article.
Episode 41 – It’s the Service Stupid
Chief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group answers the question: Why do companies like Apple, American Express, Tesla, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Amazon, Southwest, and Zappos always outperform the rest of their industry regardless of the economy? It is the service stupid! And how one company increased revenue by 2 million a month by improving customer experience.
What you will learn:
- How a small number of companies have now redefined what customers expect from brands.
- Most products and services today are of similar quality. The differentiator of products and their functionalities no longer play a role in the customer’s purchase decision.
- In a time of uncertainty, there are only 3 certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and Customer Experience.
- Most CEOs fast-talk a commitment to customer experience but slow-walk execution.
- Research has shown that in past recessions, companies that invest in and deliver superior customer experience during a downturn emerge producing shareholder returns three times larger than average.
- A study analyzes the stock market performance of the top-rated companies in customer experience versus the bottom-rated during the period of the last U.S. recession, 2007-2009. The worst CX companies had a negative 57% ROI; many of them didn’t survive. The stock market struggled at a negative 16% while the best CX companies posted a positive 6%.
- In order to know what victory looks like, you must have a ROX (Return on eXperience) dashboard. The ROX dashboard should have 3-4 Key Performance Indicators that are directly tied to the level of customer experience delivered from every customer facing employee & department.
- How a mortgage company increased revenue over 2 million dollars a month by improving their customer experience.
#1 Cause of Anxiety is Uncertainty. Be in the Certainty Business.
Tickets are Going Fast for the 2021 Customer Service Revolution
The 2021 Customer Service Revolution conference is IN-PERSON October 5-6 in Cleveland. Tickets are limited.
We are offering both in-person and virtual options for the two-day 2021 Customer Service Revolution. For the ultimate experience and peace of mind of our in-person attendees, we will take every safety precaution. As a result, we will be limiting the number of in-person tickets that we can sell. Our virtual tickets will also provide access to every speaker that the in-person event will. All in-person ticket sales will be fully refundable.
Your future success will be around the customer experience strategy and the percent of customers you create that cannot live without your company.