Forget About Metrics. Business is About Relationships
There are a lot of things I love about our industry, and about IT in general. I believe in what the right tech strategy can do for any organization and I believe that everyone should have access to this type of tangible asset, regardless of their size.
If there’s one thing I don’t quite enjoy about the IT business, it’s that far too many organizations still value metrics above everything else. Sure, we all want to have the fastest response time or the highest NPS score. But while those numbers are important, they’re only telling one small part of a much larger story.
In my mind, the factor that we should ALL be focusing more on is the relationship we forge with every client who walks through our door. Business in general is really about relationships, and one recent example will help prove just how true that really is.
A few days ago, one of our techs received a pretty emotional call from a client who was stressed out about an issue with her email. The cause of that issue wasn’t actually her fault – sometimes things happen and there really is no getting around it.
That tech kept listening and was able to quickly determine the best solution for this problem to get the client back on her feet as quickly as possible. But he also realized that the trouble itself wasn’t what was causing this client so much stress.
This client just wanted to do her job. She wanted to give her all to her own clients and do the best work possible. She’d invested so much of herself in her company that the time she spent fighting with her own technology instantly felt like something of a personal attack. Email concerns then became more than just a small annoyance. They became a significant obstacle standing in the way of her own goals.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending.
The Strongest Contract Will Never Be as Powerful as the Strongest Relationship
That tech was on his way home from work at the end of the day and he was still thinking about this client and her email troubles. Without being instructed to do so by anyone, he took a short detour and actually stopped by her office. But he didn’t pay her a visit with the intention of solving her problem – we’d already managed to do that.
Instead, he decided to bring her flowers.
Again – nobody told him to do this. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t even find out about the entire episode until long after it was already finished. This small act of kindness was just something he decided to do on his own. More than that, it was something he felt like he needed to do – standing by and doing nothing at all was simply inconceivable to him in that moment.
As a business owner, it made me pretty proud to know that I’d hired someone who was that passionate about not only what he was doing, but about who he was doing it for. But more than that, I think this is a lesson that all professionals need reminded of every now and again.
If we looked at clients simply as “transactions waiting to happen,” we would have fixed her email difficulties and that would have been the end of it. The client would have been satisfied temporarily, but as soon as the next thing broke down, she would have felt like she was on her own again.
Now, she doesn’t. Because with those hand-delivered flowers, she knows she’s got someone in her corner, rooting for her success. Someone who is going to do whatever it takes to support and empower her, even if he’s literally on his way home after finishing work for the day.
She’s keenly aware that we don’t look at her and see a line item on a balance sheet, which is exactly the way it should be.
Not only is that relationship stronger than ever, but that one simple gesture also guaranteed it’s one that will serve us both well for years to come.
Transactions come and go. Relationships – if you approach them properly – are forever.
Once You Have That Relationship, You Have Everything
If you’ve managed to build your business in a way that puts your relationships with your clients front and center, something extraordinary will happen fairly immediately. Especially when it comes to technology, a problem-free existence is not a guarantee. Things are going to break, regardless of how hard you try to stop them. But suddenly, your clients have an invaluable peace-of-mind that they won’t be able to get anywhere else.
They know that no matter what happens, you’re going to be standing by their side to help them better navigate issues both large and small. At that point, you have more than just customers. You have a small army of loyal advocates who are ready to sing your praises to anyone who will listen because you stepped up when nobody else would.
Rest assured, regardless of the type of business you’re running, that is a very exciting position to be in.
At QuestingHound, we always make it a priority to partner with organizations who value the strength and longevity of relationships every bit as much as we do. If this all sounds like a point of view that you can agree with, that’s terrific.
It’s Your Move
Give myself or one of my colleagues a call so that we can determine whether our businesses are the best fit for one another, allowing us to begin crafting that relationship we both so strongly desire as soon as possible.
John Boden is a Managing Partner at QuestingHound, Inc., a Deerfield Beach IT support company that has been helping small businesses in South Florida stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business the past 18 years. He promotes a culture that is dedicated to the highest standard of ethics, hard work, and outstanding customer service. Connect with John on LinkedIn.