Connecting In The “Post Virus” Economy

For quite some time now, I have believed that eventually, after growing weary of the faceless void that is online shopping and, we will return to a time where face to face business will once again thrive. When that time comes, I also believe that social media will lose some of its luster and people would get around to coexisting in person.

And I am convinced that evolution will be jumpstarted just a bit with all of this virus rigamarole (I love that word).

I believe that retail will become retro, like your kids thinking The Doors and Led Zeppelin are cool. We will, either consciously or unconsciously realize that many of our emotional needs only be satisfied through human interaction. I long for that day, but while we are waiting, how about preparing yourself for the return of humans to your business?

They WILL come back, and I think the will come back in droves. They will be looking for what they LIKE about human interaction and hoping to avoid what they do NOT like. Are you and your staff prepared for the ultimate opportunity to build your business around making people feel good about themselves? Now is the perfect time to take an inventory of your assets and liabilities from the standpoint of whether you are a “human friendly” business. Take a look at everything from the physical appearance of your space, to the way your staff has been trained to communicate with each other as well as with customers and guests. Does it feel safe? Would you feel welcome as a customer in your business?

While these are things we should practice every day, life gets in the way of that. Now is the time to take that inventory, decide what your story is, and decide how your story coincides with the stories of your clients, customers, and guests.  Your business may or may not be closed right now. If it is, stay connected to your staff so you can have a plan when the doors open again. A plan that includes making your guests feel special, validated, and welcome in your business. You may be doing a great job already, but at least take the time to evaluate yourself and your staff. 

When humans return to the streets, even the ones who are more introverted will be eager to connect in some way, and the more opportunities you create for that to happen, the more likely you will thrive in the “Post Virus” economy. Your ability to connect on a deeper level with your customers will b crucial in establishing your business from here on out.  This was evident following the economic consequences of 9/11.  People returned to businesses both weary but eager to return to normal, and human connection helped them do that. Many businesses that recognized that phenomenon are still successful today. While it sounds like a cliché, it is true. We WILL get through this together.

I would love to hear your stories of how you make your customers feel good at your business. Email me at Tell me what you are doing to recognize the importance of real human connection.

Do You Give Your Customers A Sense Of Security?

I have a question. Do you help your customers, clients, and guests feel secure?  I know. That’s a funny, yet loaded question.  I am not talking about security in the sense of keeping them safe from harm, or keeping their private data safe, although those things are very important. I am talking about a sense of security.  Remember the mantra. “People spend money to feel good about themselves”. Part of feeling good about yourself is minimizing personal insecurity, and you can play a role in minimizing that insecurity in your place of business, even if that place of business is a conference or board room. It does not have to be a hotel or store, or retail outlet. Your “space” for your customers is what you want it to be.

Right now, your “space” is probably closed, but it won’t be closed forever. When it’s open again, it will be even more important to “connect” with people.

So, when your customers are in your “space”, how do they feel about things? (No, I do not think that bump your head took on the kitchen cabinet this morning did not suddenly give you mind reading powers). I am talking about you creating a space, (see my earlier post, where customers feel comfortable in their own skin, because you have created a place where they are confident some of their emotional needs can be met, and they can be themselves in the process. 

The biggest way to achieve this at your business is by taking an inventory of how you deal with others, whether they are your customers, friends, or heaven forbid, relatives. Do you speak in a way that makes people comfortable? Nervous? At ease? Do you have conversations that bring out the best in those around you?

As a young event manager, I was often told I looked intense, and it made people feel as though I was concealing that something bad was happening. It wasn’t. I was just an intense manager, who was actually happy inside, and until it was brought to my attention, I had no idea I looked this way.  I often spoke with great urgency, as well, leading to the same assumptions by others. With a combination of working on it, and mellowing over time, I rarely have that issue any more, but still sometimes it pops up in an elevated situation, which can happen in my business, and very likely, yours.  What do you do that may make someone feel uncomfortable, even though you mean nothing by it? Maybe nothing, but it is good to inventory these behaviors once in a while to stay connected.

Another thing you can do to help others feel secure is what the entire “Dealing With Humans” lessons are based upon. Empathy.  When someone believes you sincerely appreciate their situation and needs, they are much more comfortable, and, in turn, much more likely to do business with you. When the turmoil from our COVID-19 situation abates, people will be even more insecure than normal, and it will take effort and sincerity on your part, to help them with that insecurity. Whatever you do, make it real.  Capitalizing on this pandemic in a trite way will not end well for you. Let your clients know that you are still there for them.

Let your customers know you are there for them. Be sincere, but more importantly, be present. That is how you connect with humans.