Are we already in, or heading into, a transaction-focused, impersonal, electronic-only business environment?
Is email and social media causing us to become too impersonal? In this fast-paced world of 8-second attention spans, 140 characters, infographics and quick top tips, are relationships being hindered, or not being valued? Are service companies streamlining themselves out of customers by relying too much on email and social media to communicate? Do relationships still matter?
Arguably these are rhetorical questions, but the reality is we’re no longer talking about the value of personal relationships in business, but rather how to streamline and minimize personal connectivity and maximize our Klout score as a substitute for the meaningful engagement.
Nonetheless, I turned to Google to help me find some answers.
There were numerous blogs and articles about using social media for customer relations and professional relationships to build a person’s career. And there were a few on the legalities of business relationships, but not much on if relationships truly matter in business today.
However, I did find an interesting (and appropriately sarcastic at times) column by Harvey Gold of the Stafford County Sun entitled, “Gold: Human touch lost with some technology.” In it he says, “It worries me that our society has become so insensitive and unemotional that we can only write codes to each other in a standard monotone printer produced format.” Is this where we are in business as well?
My point is this: I do believe that relationships matter and always will in business. Letting go of the limited attention span, refocusing on helping and getting back to having real live conversations is a good thing that can lend itself to growing and maintaining a business.
How often do you send an email, text, place a post or direct message someone instead of picking up the phone and actually calling them? I’d love to hear what you think about fostering relationships in business—especially the existing ones. How much does direct engagement matter? Why or why not?