“There is nothing personal. It’s just business.”
What colder treatment could be farther from this? What if we rephrase it and say, “It’s personal because it’s business” instead?
In the context, I am trying to compare traditional and dehumanized versus modern and humanized approaches that enterprises/businesses use.
In the past, we were taught that businesses were efficient if they’re well-oiled, particularly in the Industrial Revolution. The problem with this thinking, people (consumers and business owners alike perceive companies as a machine without emotions).
Humans Run A Business. Consumers Are Humans.
Business is personal.
Humans make running a business possible, not just because of the processes, machines and technologies involved but because of the people involved.
“Machines were not only seen as tools, but they became the ideal framework of how things were supposed to work, even businesses.” It’s time to let go of this concept that the Industrial Revolution has inculcated in our minds.
Unfortunately, several companies still adapt it on how they work, run their systems, and treat customers.
And for decades, companies give a more significant focus on productivity and efficiency than on people.
The machine-like efficient system might have worked, but we are now in the Information Age.
Machines remain static unless humans reinvent or upgrade them, but companies are dynamic. It constantly evolves to meet the demands of change.
Change Is Inevitable. Don’t Ignore It.
We no longer live in the Industrialization Era.
Getting stuck on yesterday’s strategies will only hinder us from adapting to the ever-changing business landscape.
The possible solution, humanize your business so that it can be easier to adapt to the changes.
After all, human challenges make up a majority of the issues that companies face.
For example, your employees and customers now have more power over two things – controlling and sharing information online.
It can affect your company in many ways than one.
For example, negative word-of-mouth can quickly taint your reputation online. It can spread like wildfire and break the public’s trust and confidence in your business.
Consumers care about how companies act and advocate for change
Consumers care not only about the services or the products a company is offering but also about how companies act and advocate for change.
People’s loyalty to brands are no longer centered on the quality of products and services alone. Your advocacies also affect their buying decisions.
Business paradigms developed in the past might not work today
Businesses face current problems that a specific business paradigm developed years ago might not help on.
If you have a business, consider human-centered solutions to connect and gain the trust of your customers.
Shift your focus on becoming closer and showing empathy- genuinely – to customers. You can show deep empathy towards them, too.
According to Harvard Business Review, humanizing a company is one of the best ways of ensuring customer relationships in this pandemic.
This includes making your customers know that your company empathizes with the circumstances people are experiencing.
You can show what you are doing to help employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Send the right message that you are more than just a business.
An example is PayPal that has vowed not to lay-off any employees because of the pandemic.
Besides their “no-lay off” pledge, Paypal has also extended help to small business customers by pushing back repayments on business loans and on cash advances with no extra charges.
Other companies that also took the no-layoff pledge are StarBucks, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Marvell Technology.
Humanizing a brand can help overcome the market’s oversaturation
Another challenge that companies are facing in this Information Age is that most markets are oversaturated.
This problem can also be overcome by empowering your customers. However, it is no longer about having the best “product” but about creating the best experience for your customers.
The goal should not be reaching out to as many customers as possible. Instead, it should be knowing who to serve and how to serve them better.
The ultimate goal is to drive more value to the existing customer base through experiences that will make them come back. It is through the experiences that match their needs instead of your business’ needs.
However, humanizing your company does not mean letting go of the financial needs of the business but prioritizing consumer needs, putting them at the forefront of your business.
Results will follow when your employees are motivated to work. Sales will increase when your customers can connect even after purchase, too.
And the formula is simple, put people first and design your system around it.
Humanize your efforts and notice the big difference. Again, you’re a human running the business and your consumers are humans, too.
At the end of the day, your brand is more than just a logo, is it? Make real connections, conversations, and engagements with customers. They need a real human that they can reach out to, speak about their concerns to, and deal with. Hope this makes sense.
Should you need help or wish to know more about humanizing a brand, send me a message.
May this serve as a message of hope that being human may very well be the best silver lining to all of our current vicissitudes.
In love and respect,
Founder & CEO, Corna Partners