For those of you who have a favourite coffee shop or lunch bar, what is it that keeps you coming back? While the coffee and sandwiches might be great, if the person behind the counter knows your particular order, and even your name, that can mean almost as much to you as the product you’re buying.
This same sentiment can be applied to any business – it’s the personal connection that often matters the most.
At EES Shipping, we might be freight forwarders, but ultimately, we’re in the business of people.
We spend our time helping clients move items from point A to point B, and in doing so, we get to learn about who they are and what they do – we start to understand who they are as individuals.
We also communicate regularly with suppliers and other industry stakeholders and learn more about the people behind the roles.
We pride ourselves on developing genuine connections with everyone we do business with, built on our core values of honesty, transparency, and knowledge-sharing.
It’s a fair observation to say that such relationships can be more costly as they require an investment in terms of time – and we know in business that time is money – but the return on that investment is arguably worth every second.
By building strong relationships with your clients, suppliers, and industry stakeholders, you offer your business a wealth of money-can’t-buy opportunities.
If I reflect on some of the conversations I’ve had with people while doing business throughout the year, I’ve gained industry insight and knowledge, information about consumer trends, and had access to resources that I might not otherwise have had, if it weren’t for those specific relationships.
Not to mention it makes going to work that much more enjoyable.
We can’t ignore the fact that businesses operate to make money, and while human connection is ‘nice to have’, I also strongly believe it’s a key part of any business being able to earn a profit.
If your business can build a reputation of genuinely caring about your customers and stakeholders, it will absolutely work in your favour.
Word of mouth referrals and recommendations from loyal customers can assist your business greatly and is far more cost effective than any advertising or marketing campaign.
Value to a customer is not just about price, but rather it’s a whole of transaction experience.
It’s being able to anticipate the needs of your customers because you genuinely know them, understanding their specific requirements and going that extra mile to make their life a little smoother.
To take you back to your favourite coffee shop – it’s the barista having your exact order ready before you arrive, asking you how your dog/kids/partner is going, and occasionally throwing you a free brownie.
Our increasingly digital world means we are more accustomed to the idea of instant gratification both in our personal and professional lives, whether it be through online shopping, the use of social media, emails, or real-time alerts and notifications.
However, there’s no denying the impact of genuine relationships, built slowly over time, that don’t feel ‘transactional’.
Before we all start to rush to make grandiose New Years resolutions, perhaps one of the simplest things we can do is start paying a little more attention to our business relationships and take the time to slow down and really build those connections.
You won’t regret it, I promise.