Customers need to feel that they are heard and understood. Business expert Gene Marks explains why authenticity is important in running a small business.
We talk about authenticity. So my sister is a family doctor down in south Philadelphia. She has two practices there. And so she's my sister, so I wouldn't let her cut my fingernails, but I'm told she's a pretty good doctor and she's been doing it for like a number of years and I'm very, I'm very close with her and she has one of the best authentic bedside manners of any physician I have ever met. She, she empathizes with people. When she talks to her patients and a patient says they have a pain here, they have an issue or whatever, she's 54 years old now so she's very likely has had a pain like that or something close to that as well and she can actually say, oh, I know. I've had that same pain, you know, it hurts here. Isn't that unbelievable. Whatever. She's, she's very, very honest about her own limits. She doesn't like step up on a kind of a high horse. And I feel the same way when it comes to my clients. I, I really like to admit my shortcomings because I think it makes me, I, I can empathize with my clients. When, when a client calls because somebody in my company has not responded to a support issue, you know, I, I go nuts about it. You know, if my printer is down, which my printers always seem to go down, particularly when I'm trying to print something out, I go berserk if I can't like an actual, you know, like support on it right – I get, you know, I mean, I know how that feels. So, as a business person, as a business owner, you can, you just, you can't ever lose touch with your customers. That they're experiencing your products and your services and that when they're hurting or they're having an issue or they got a problem, um, they would rather be doing anything else but calling your business about a problem. Believe me. They would rather just be doing whatever they're doing and not having to worry. The very fact that there's an issue going on or there's a need that they're having or, you know, and they're taking the time out to, to talk about that should be telling you that this is clearly really bothering them or upsetting them if they're taking the time – and, and I've got to find out what I've got to empathize along with I have to take ownership of it and I've gotta get it fixed. I really have to get it fixed. So, you know, being honest with your, with your, with your customers, admitting when you make your mistakes, but more importantly, getting them fixed, you know, right away is, is critically important to making sure that you stay close to your customers and you feel what they're feeling. One thing I think I can say about with mistakes, I – I've had to learn, we – I do view our, your problems as opportunities, I really do. I mean, I, I see, you know, look, we sell software so, as you can imagine in this world, right, a lot of times it doesn't work. So, you know, when bad things happen we can get them fixed. Sometimes I have to eat the cost of doing that, but a lot of times in the process of fixing something we find some other area where we can help a client. So we can say, yeah, let's get this fixed or whatever. I know it's gonna take some time. No, no, no. Of course you have to pay for that. Ah, but by the way, you know, we're noticing you could be using this add-on product or this additional service and, and it can turn into an opportunity. So I wouldn't look at any problems as any, as being something that's, that's a headache. It, it is an opportunity to engage with your customer and help them and show them that you do care and maybe you can identify other work.