What ARE you looking at?
This is the crowd of “regulars” lined up on Sunday morning at 7:45 in anticipation of breakfast at Zorro’s! Eric will typically greet each by name, point them to “their” table and in short order, one of the familiar servers will be by to confirm the “usual” order!
Do you think an Amazon algorithm or recommendation can compete with or replace this?
Can you think of any online enterprises that have created such a relationship?
Hold that thought and let’s talk about Weak Ties. Look it up and you’ll find the “weak ties” theory posits acquaintances are likely to be more influential than close friends, particularly in social networks.
I’d like to suggest a variation on this theme every newspaper (really, any business) should consider:
Endeavor to establish, at the very least, “weak ties” with each-and-every customer.
This might mean>
- Greeting a subscriber by his or her name in an email rather than “Dear Reader”!
- Capturing an email when a customer visits or interacts with your organization and making sure the frequency you message that person is THEIR CHOICE. (We all get daily emails [more?] from some organizations and wonder what-the-hell-are-they thinking pinging me that often?)
- Have an Open House or Town Hall meeting and meet your clientele and/or prospects.
- Provide channel (s) for feedback, suggestions, complaints, kudos and acknowledge same.
- Thank a customer – where have you read that before?
- Recognize relationship milestones – 10 years as a subscriber, millionth mile flown or number of referrals, and the list goes on!
- You get the idea ~ this is an ENDLESS list!
Related and I’m coming to a point - I’ve recently been a part of two research projects in which we asked, “…do you know someone who works at [CLIENT]?”
Two instances are by no means conclusive and perhaps meaningless, yet in these examples, it’s very clear a personal connection improves the perception of the organization, especially vis-à-vis competitors.
Are you catching my “weak tries” drift now?
There’s little question tomorrow will be more digital, include more video, move more online and be subject to more algorithmic interference (or manipulation) so let’s face and embrace that coming reality.
We value, correction, NEED relationships both strong (family, friends, school, sorority, cohort, etc.) and weak and neither happen without HUMAN interaction.
Who have you hugged today?