The Power of Face to Face Engagement

Studies say we live in an increasingly connected world.  Smartphones are the ever present reminder that we can reach or be reached at any time.  Similarly, companies have made great strides to become more connected to their customers.  Frequent emails, surveys and webinars are now common for organizations large and small.   But text messages hold no tone or body language to read.  The same goes for surveys and emails. How do you know if a webinar attendee actually understood what was presented?

I’m not saying that we should “destroy the machines”,  I work at a computer company after all.  What I am saying is that we have to better leverage the face to face time that we do get.  For instance I was checking emails during dinner my family tonight. My wife gave the look, put her hand out and the phone disappeared until dinner was over.  I actually appreciate that. For work EMC World is the ultimate opportunity to make a real connection with customers and partners.  Every interaction allowed me to read the person I was engaging with and shift the conversation to make it more meaningful.  For the Total Customer Experience team, our biggest opportunity was at our booth.  The goal this year was to create one thousand meaningful engagements, but as the initial numbers are coming in I think we blew that away.

Paul VIA

What is a meaningful connection?  Here is an example.  I was manning the Voice Insight Action (VIA) tool for most of my time, collecting stories.  One customer told me about a product install that went horribly wrong.  I will spare you the details but the project went over by two weeks and by that time everyone was supremely frustrated.  I listened and took down all of the details and then steeled myself for the last question I had to ask “how likely are you to recommend EMC? You can be honest”.  The customer replied and my eyes shot up.  “Of course I will always recommend EMC.  After I got it installed it runs better than anything else.” He went on to explain that even the support is great it was just some miscommunication on a common process that caused all the issues.  That gives me insight into the people I am working for everyday.  Knowing that we are doing our best and that 99% of the time we get it right means something.

What else means something?  Being heard.  Another customer told me about an issue he had to get involved in just the night before.  I once again took down all the details and this time had a few suggestions.  I apologized for the challenges he was running into and his response was “I’m just glad I know someone is listening”.  Maybe I’m taking liberties but that sounds an awful lot like “thanks for doing your job”. He felt better and I felt better.  THAT is a meaningful connection.  And we have over a thousand of them.  Now it’s time to start digging in and build plans from all that feedback but knowing who it is going to help is all the motivation I need.

P.S. If you are totally lost on what’s going on here follow these links to a recap of each day at EMC World.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

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