REMEMBER – People like to deal with people

I am currently preparing to open a marketing conference in Warwick, and I am going to be emphasising the importance of personal interaction.

Preparing for the conference, I did a review on Trip Advisor of the conference centre where I will be speaking.

Most of the reviews were amazingly positive, but one stood out as less positive – so I thought it must be something to do with their people – sure enough a receptionist had spoiled this delegates whole conference, and she clearly was not interested in showing any cooperation with the delegate who had used the facility several times before without problem.

I did a review of another centre nearby and found this review which tarnished otherwise good reviews”Staff were miserable and poorly trained (if they were at all) – Breakfast was taken on stained tablecloths , buffet plates were cold (my pet hate ) . Staff were disorganised- it was not memorable – I will not return ” – enough said!

I laughed because it made me think of the following blog from Graham Jones that I had read a few weeks ago, and with which I totally agree.

Even young people prefer face-to-face
Oct 8th, 2012 @ 05:30 pm › Graham Jones
There is a popular theory that young people all use the Internet like crazy and that they would rather do everything online and avoid meeting face-to-face.
That popular theory is the very stuff of tabloid media, with the readers of something like the Daily Mail appearing to think we’re all off to hell in a handcart.

The proverbial “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” would reckon that youngsters these days are turning into zombies with their “constant use” of the Internet.  You can just hear Mr Disgusted shouting “they should switch that damn Internet off”.

Of course, reality and what the tabloids might tell you are often different. New research now reveals how mistaken we can be when it comes to assuming what youngsters want.In an interesting and comprehensive study at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, researchers have found that technology is much less interesting to students than good, old-fashioned, face-to-face contact. The study investigated the view of over 15,000 students and 2,600 lecturers in a 120 question survey.

In other words, this is a substantial study.And it found that students were much less enthusiastic about all the technological wizardry than their older lecturers. What students preferred was to have rather ordinary lectures – which have been around since the first university was established in Bologna in 1088.

Lectures have stood the test of time…!  True, some lecturers might be boring, but students prefer these face-to-face encounters it seems, than all the “enhancements” which some lecturers try to provide, such as Facebook groups, Twitter streams and so on. All the technological additions are much less popular than lecturers might think.It is a reminder that we should not assume in these online days that face-to-face is unimportant.

At the weekend I was at the Professional Speaking Association Annual Convention where one of the speakers pointed out that almost all of his business comes from just eight people.

The business they provide him is significant and almost all the interaction he has with them is face-to-face.

Indeed, he doesn’t even have a website, nor is he on Twitter or any other social network for that matter. His business comes from good, old-fashioned, face-to-face contact.

Sometimes we assume that the shiny new penny of the interactive social world is vital to our business. It can help, of course, but as the student survey in Canada reminds us, we should not throw out old-fashioned ways of doing business – they have, after all, worked very well indeed for centuries. They still work now…!

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Returning to my thoughts, my point is not about customer care but more about the importance of human interaction.When human interaction is bad , it will tarnish the reputation of an otherwise good business, but equally when it is good , it can “repair” problems and enhance reputations.In this internet dominated world, we forget about the importance of engaging one to one with people face to face.We spend fortunes on our marketing with advertising , brochures,  web sites and social media , but forget the basics about training people how to communicate, how to listen, how to ask questions and how to build rapport to create empathy with our customers and our prospects.

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