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The importance of the personal touch

Written by Frank Milner on Wednesday, 13 January 2021. Posted in Sales & Marketing

In the digital age, many businesses have resorted to sitting behind computer screens to interact with their customers.

The importance of the personal touch

In the digital age, many businesses have resorted to sitting behind computer screens to interact with their customers. As a result, customers are more likely to assume that any and every form of communication is an automated response, with no feeling or emotion behind the empty words. Whilst the pandemic has made this the only option for most businesses across the globe to continue, I sincerely hope that when restrictions are lifted, the personal aspect of business will return.  

No matter what industry you operate in, there will be an element of business that requires a certain level of human interaction. Major supermarket players and global tech giants have built their brand on having great people skills, crucial for keeping things personal for each customer. Take Tesco or Apple, for example – do you think they would have reached their leader status if they didn’t focus heavily on the personal side of the business? Of course not. The fact of the matter is, technology provides convenience, but when it takes the form of a real conversation, that’s when things click. 

There’s a particular analogy that I think explains it very well: would you buy medicine for your child if you received an email telling you to do so? Undoubtedly, you wouldn’t, and no loving parent would. You would much prefer to visit a doctor or have one visit them, have a check-up, then and only then, go to the chemist to get the prescribed medicine. 

In a way, brands are like doctors. They prescribe a cure for a problem, whether it’s boredom, sadness, time management, children’s tuition, buying a cake and so on. Providing a solution to a problem is the very reason why a business operates successfully, and it’s certainly something in the front of our minds at Tutor Doctor. We’re a business but right at the centre, we care about what we do - we’ve even got the word ‘doctor’ in our name. We provide a proverbial cure to parents’ issues with their children’s learning, which is at its most effective when there’s that human-to-human interaction. Not only does a personal interaction allow for a deeper understanding of any strains, but it also helps to establish a relationship that results in creating a lasting impression. 

And building that relationship has a whole host of other benefits, including increasing the chance of customer loyalty. With hundreds of options to choose from, it’s that very variety that becomes every business owner’s biggest enemy. The key differentiator, or the glue that will keep your customer stuck to your product, is loyalty. And we all know that isn’t easy to establish without a personal relationship and trusted connection. 

So, what are some of the practical ways that we build personal connections? Our franchisees spend time out in their communities, taking every opportunity to get to know their local market and spark connections. Whether that is at a school fete, taking a stand at the local shopping centre or sponsoring their hometown’s football club. These activities are one of the reasons why we’ve managed to achieve a Net Promoter Score of 81. I like to think of loyalty as a product: to be bought, it must first be seen and felt. 

It’s an unfortunate truth that the increase in digital services has led us to sometimes forget that businesses are people first. Those that truly make a difference are run by people, for people - they are their own living and breathing organisms that thrive on a personal touch. Even as we experience the rise of technology, something that I’ve written about before in my Elite Franchise columns, I believe that it’s the personal touch that will help differentiate you from your competitors. How personal would you say your business is?  

About the Author

Frank Milner

Frank Milner

Having worked as a stockbroker, built a successful insurance business, acted as a sales coach and then taken on a vice president role at WSI, the digital marketing franchise, Milner has an impressive and varied background in business, franchising, sales and marketing. In his current role as CEO of Tutor Doctor, the private tutoring franchise, he's seen the company grow globally to include 500 franchisees spread across the world, including the UK.

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