If you have ever spent a significant amount of time alone with a toddler, you probably learned a few lessons that made the time you spent together more fun and taught you about parenting. Only, the other night it came to me – many of those lessons that make you a great parent are just as valid and applicable for your business.
Here are my top five:
Monitoring & Proactive Reaction Prevents Escalations
Once your toddler is crying, you have to invest a lot of energy to resolve the situation. A better approach is to monitor what your toddler is doing and how he is feeling. When is the last time your toddler ate something? Can you offer a snack early so that the real pain of hunger never really sets in? Is it time to sleep? Let’s wind your toddler down and prepare for nap-time.
Easy advice for parents, but just as true for businesses. Being aware of your customer health, tracking important KPI’s about satisfaction, support volume, and time to resolve, customer churn… each are important key metrics that will tell you if you are looking at a situation that has the potential to escalate or not. If yes, reacting to it proactively will not only prevent the escalation, but will also earn you important relationship points with your customers.
Take Action Early
If your toddler is complaining about being hungry or needing a fresh diaper, the only thing that will solve the situation is acting and doing so early. Same is true for any issue that arises in your business. Early action allows you to stay on top of things vs. facing a serious escalation.
Hoping won’t change a dirty diaper. It is up to you to act.
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First You Plan for Everything and Then You Handle the Unexpected
Ever been out for a full day with a toddler? Your level of preparation will determine whether it will be a pleasant day that you can enjoy, or if you will end up stepping from one pothole to another. Food, toys, clothes to change, nap-time… everything that is important to cover your toddler’s daily needs should be planned for. Being well-prepared will also allow you to react to the unforeseen. Hungrier than usual? No problem. You brought extra food.
Same is true for your business. Covering all your bases will make or break the success of your business. The extra preparation puts you at ease because you have thought it all through. The probability that something will happen that you did not account for is reduced. Also, because you thought about the various scenarios, you are now better able to adjust to the new situation and find a solution.
Speak the Language of Your Audience
Lecturing your toddler in terms she does not understand won’t do you any good. Empathy and finding the right way to communicate with your toddler is the only way to success – and a happy toddler.
Your customers have their own language as well. You need to adjust and find the right communication style and channels to interact with them. The nicest message will fail if you do not find the right words or send it via the wrong channel. Your customers set the rules – all you have to do is follow them.
A Bad Relationship with Your Customers Is Your Fault
A toddler is probably the most forgiving creature there is. Short-term memory certainly helps, but once you are marked as a “bad person,” that’s it. You are done and it is all your fault.
The same is true for the relationship with your customers. If your relationship with your customer is sour, it is your fault. You missed opportunities to engage them, build a relationship, and take care of their needs. You don’t know what they want from you? Shame on you. You should have asked. If your bond with your customer falls apart, it is on you. This has to be your attitude.
All of the things you learned to do as a parent are invaluable lessons that will make you and your business successful. Look at the level of empathy, preparedness, and care that you have when looking out for your toddler, and then translate and apply it to your business. It will build the foundation for the success of your company.
One question remains that you need to answer for yourself: What is the equivalent of the pacifier for your business?
Looking forward for your suggestions in the comments or on Twitter! Find me @NYMKTAC!
If you have more questions, feel free to reach out.