Blog followers have asked me why I'm not posting as much as I have done so in past years. This question deserves a response...
I'm pleased to report that I've been making progress on a book in a parable format about how to form connections that make life better from personal and professional standpoints. I've been thinking about writing this book for years but other activies from wrangling a toddler to blogging have proven to be powerful distractions.
It is clear that I need to let a few things go in order to give my book the focus that it needs to be completed. That's why I'm temporarily discontinuing this blog. On January 1, 2013, I will have completed the book, and I'll reengage as a blogger.
The Buzz Bulletin Is Becoming The Connector's Way
"The only constant in life is change."
Heraclitus (Greek philosopher, 535 BC - 475 BC)
Thank you for being a loyal reader of The Buzz Bulletin. After ten years, I'm changing the name and focus of this eNewsletter to The Connector's Way.
Why? "Buzz" has become a buzz word and its pursuit can be time-consuming and unproductive.
Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. LinkedIn. Tumblr. Pinterest. Instagram. With so many options, social media can distract professionals and companies from forming authentic relationships that lie at the heart of long-term business success. Real-world connections with partners, prospects and customers are what sustain lifelong loyalty and referrals, and these don't often correlate with the number of "likes" on Facebook or "followers" on Twitter.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy posting videos online, "tweeting," blogging and "linking in." But "old school" techniques for making personal and professional connections still work. The Connector's Way will cover classic and cutting-edge ideas for cultivating connections that lead to better relationships, sales and word of mouth.
"The Meet Department"
While walking near the meat counter at my local grocery store, I heard a voice boom out. "What's up? How are things in the advertising world?" Peeking from above the tall counter was Willie, a diminutive butcher with a megawatt smile.
It had been over a year since I last spoke with Willie about advertising. It was an interesting conversation in which we both agreed that too many companies focus on advertising over customer service.
I told Willie how much his memory impressed me. He laughed. "Well, I'm glad you're impressed. My kids hate it because I use it to remind them to finish their homework before going out."
Willie remembers his conversations with customers because he realizes that it makes them feel important. He knows that this small act helps his store stand apart from its competitors and helps foster loyalty. "After all," he said. "Who doesn't want friendly service and having somebody remember what they like?"
Common sense, right? Yet too many frontline service workers are apathetic, even rude. Grocery stores spend billions of dollars on marketing campaigns to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back. It takes just one unfriendly worker at the butcher or checkout counter to create a negative impression that will keep customers away. (Just ask my wife, who refuses to go to the grocery store nearest to our house because of the negative attitude of the produce people. Considering the price of their organic wares and my daughter's voracious appetite for fruit, they are missing out on a chunk of change!)
Willie is just one member of an outstanding customer service team. His colleagues often ask how my daughter is doing or chat with me about local sports teams they know I follow. While the topics of conversation vary, they make me feel more like a friend than a customer. No wonder I spend so much of our family's grocery budget in their store and recommend it whenever I get the chance.
How do you connect with customers?
In future issues of The Connector's Way, I would like to feature stories and ideas from you and other readers on how you build connections with customers that are a rewarding from personal and professional standpoints. Please call or email me with your suggestions.