1. Step Back from Social Media
With the social media craze growing by the day, it seems unreasonable anyone would ask a business to reassess their usage of the networking giants (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook). But social media is a double-edged sword: the more we use it, the less we engage in genuine conversation and interaction.
According to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, one third of Americans prefer text messages to calls. That’s a third of the population that has nearly forgotten what it’s like to hear a voice, decipher tone, and pick up on emotion in daily conversation. Young adults in particular – those between the ages of 18 to 24 – send an average of 3,200 texts a month in lieu of conversation.
In the business world this could easily spell trouble. Customer service, while taking a digital route, can still be best practiced by picking up the phone or meeting a client for lunch. Don’t fear the phone or in-person meetings; rather, pair these practices with social media to achieve the greatest results from all mediums.
2. Buzzwords Don’t Guarantee Success
In the business world, customers and clients aren’t going to be as impressed by your business lingo as you may think. You might have an elevator pitch that includes every trending buzzword on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean it will make you a sale. Speak to people like people. An overabundance of buzzwords could cause the customer or client to tune out.
3. Care. Actually care.
Clients and employees can tell whether a business leader is passionate about the job and has a genuine interest in ensuring satisfaction. Earlier this year, The New York Times compiled a list of companies with a great concern for consumer experience. The list, which included Cuisinart, TiVo, Delta Airlines, Philips, GE, and more, had many of the same themes with each explanation: the companies found a quick way to handle the problem, were responsive, did not shift the blame onto the consumer, and were genuinely interested in correcting the situation and tending to the consumer’s needs and issues. Receptiveness, patience, and approachability will go a long way.
4. Never Doubt the Power of Professionalism
There is a time and a place to make jokes and be candid, but there’s also a place to maintain professionalism. Try and keep this line in mind when speaking with clients, customers, vendors, or anyone in your professional network. Often we may feel we are at the level of casual rapport with a potential client only to have them lose interest or become disengaged as a result of sloppiness. Take the extra time to make sure every point of correspondence is professional. Save the “ROFL” emails for friends.
5. Practice Gratitude Daily
Within any business, a simple Thank You goes a long way. Similarly, ownership of internal issues instead of finger pointing will help a continuous building of trust and rapport with colleagues. Recognition for hard work is appreciated across the board: don’t be afraid to exercise this simple act. It takes ten seconds to thank at least one person a day and makes both you and the employee feel good.
6. Stop Waiting for Permission
Too often we feel the need to jump through unnecessary hoops or sift through non-existent red tape before jumping head-first into a project. When hesitating about marketing to a prospect, trying something new, or simply making a business decision, ask yourself: If this project is in the best interest of my company, what am I waiting for? Is it (Employee XYZ) who is holding me back, or is that simply what I’m telling myself? You’ll be surprised at how often the culprit is yourself. Put on a brave face and try something new.