On Being Human … Again

Several decades, maybe even centuries ago, people had personal connections with the proprietors of the businesses they frequently. They were loyal to those businesses because they knew those people and their stories personally. They would not get a haircut, or buy groceries, from anywhere or anyone else, no matter how cheap the alternative was.

Then mass production, the assembly line, the Industrial Revolution hit.

We became more efficient in our work. We found we could multiply our impact and make more money and have a better standard of living. We made huge technological and innovative advances that made the price of goods and services more affordable and more available.

But the result was …. we became less human to the people who bought from us.

In seeking to become better and to do more, we lost our face-to-face touch.

But in the last couple of months, I’ve been seeing a trend in business … that all kinds of businesses, especially the BIG ones, are seeking to become human again.

To be personalable and put a face on their company again.

Yes, the brands still exist and are powerful, but they also want you to know Sally who works in that big, faceless brand.

We started iThemesTV for this very reason. We wanted our customer community to meet the team behind the products they support with their money. (I repeat often this question: “When was the last time you bought a product and got to meet the people who created it?)

But we’re seeing some innovative uses of social media, in particular, Twitter, at companies, elsewhere.

I instantly think of @ComcastCares … a big huge, faceless company that uses Twitter to be human and respond in a unique, personal way to their customers. (See also: @HostGator and @HomeDepot)

Most of these companies have several people working to engage disgruntled customers, or make suggestions. Since they have several people running it, they initial their tweets. I love that touch. It endears me to them.

We’re doing the same @ithemes.

Here’s some of my thoughts on how we’re seeking to be human with our community and prospective community members ….

  • I want them to see the passion in our voice as we talk about our work
  • I want to share our expertise and experience in order to empower them in their own work
  • I want them to know real people are answering their questions and to get to know them personally
  • I want them to see photos of those real people who work hard for them
  • I want to hear our customer’s stories …. their problems, frustrations, and celebrate in their successes
  • I want to meet more of our customers in person so I can thank them for their support

As with everything, this is a work in progress. We’re not there, but we’re seeking to be more human in every thing we can.

How are you being human in your business?

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