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A Personal Touch in the Digital Age

Personal interactions in a computerized world

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Tony Baker
November 09, 2007

Tony Baker
President and founder of Xeal Inc., Tony D. Baker is Oklahoma’s leading Internet marketing expert with more than 10 years of Internet marketing experience. You can catch Tony on the Xeal Radio Show on Sunday nights on 1170 KFAQ Tulsa. Sign up for a free 20-point website evaluation and pick up crucial tips at Xeal's free Thursday webinar.
Tony Baker has written 11 articles for WebKnowHow.
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In business, as in life, the name of the game is convenience and efficiency. For all their issues, computers allow us a greater degree of both. Thanks to the Internet, all it takes is the click of a button to send an email, place an order, or sign up for a newsletter. You can even automate responses so that as soon as somebody sends you an email, they immediately get one back.

However, with all this cutting-edge digital technology, we're spending more time in front of our computer screens and less time on actual human interaction. When we call some place to ask for help, more often than not we get an automated voice telling us to press "1" for English o para Espanol, oprimar "2." Automated form emails are generic and impersonal. It's hard to feel like you matter when all of our technology seems bent on eliminating actual human interaction.

While convenience and efficiency are important, there's something to be said for taking the time to get personal. A handwritten letter, a personal phone call, or an email that you actually took the time to write will mean a lot to the recipient. And if that recipient is a customer, you've taken a huge step toward distinguishing yourself from all the other "nameless, faceless" companies who won't take the time to establish relationships with their customers.

As interactions become more and more digitized and virtual, simple human contact and truly personal touches can have great impact. If you want some ideas for giving your business the personal touch in the digital age, look no further.

Letters and thank-you cards

Email is quick, easy, and free. Letters, on the other hand, take time and money to send. Thus, if one of your customers receives a handwritten note from you, whether it's a thank-you note for purchasing your product or service or a follow-up letter urging them to keep in touch with you, it speaks volumes.

Most people will be touched if you take the time to send a letter and thank them for their business. It shows that you appreciate them, and in this day and age where customer-support horror stories decorate the Internet, that is vital. It's a simple act that will set your company apart and earn you a great deal in customer respect. Even if you take the time to send a personalized thank-you email as opposed to an automated form, it will pay off.

Phone calls

Again, email is easier. You can shoot somebody a letter at your convenience, and they can reply to you at theirs. However, considering how crazy schedules are, taking the time to pick up the phone and call somebody is a major feat. If a customer is seriously unhappy, a personal phone call shows that you're willing to do whatever it takes to make it right.

Even if they're not unhappy, having a telephone relationship with customers gives them a chance to put a voice with the name. Also, most of our vocal inflection is lost in email and other text-based communication, which increases the chance of somebody mistaking a joke for an insult. A phone call allows you to establish a verbal rapport with your customers.

Visit their city

You probably can't afford to go jetting all over the country just to meet each and every one of your clients. However, if you're going to be in the area, or if they are a huge customer, then take the time to meet with them face-to-face. A personal meeting makes you more than just words on a computer screen or a voice on the telephone. You are a human, just like them. Plus, the fact that you took the time out of your busy schedule to come see them and meet with them, personally, will mean a lot.

How many times have we heard "it's not personal; it's just business"? While understandable to a point, it doesn't mean that business has to be impersonal. Take the time to establish real relationships with your customers beyond the auto-response. Show them that you and your company see them as people, not a revenue source, and you'll go a long way to establishing serious customer respect.

For more tips on keeping customers through personal methods, check out this article: http://ezinearticles.com/?Customer-Retention-with-a-Personal-Touch&id=10745

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