I’ve heard that determination and elbow grease are all that you need to make it big in business today. While that may be somewhat true, bringing on new business and retaining existing customers also requires knowledge, critical thinking, technology, problem solving, patience, talent and empathy. Empathy? Yes, empathy.
In the payroll world for instance, we are required to have a robust knowledge of the payroll industry and the constant changes in legislation and laws. Staying current on all these regulations is crucial to the legitimacy of our business. We must meet all deadlines, provide accurate paychecks, file correct returns and make timely tax payments. But every payroll service must do the same or they will not be in business for long. So what can set us apart? What can set your business apart?
Empathy. The definition of empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e. the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Today more than ever, successful businesses must develop strong relationships with their customers. They must have a connection with their customers. They need to find things they have in common. They must relate.
Last week, I returned home after being with my 11-month-old granddaughter for five days. I went to a local gift shop and was chatting with the sales lady – who was gift wrapping my purchases (a service she does for free) and we got to talking about our grandchildren. As I welled up with tears because I was missing my granddaughter, she welled up with tears because 3 of her grandchildren live 3 states away and she only see them 3 times a year. Upon my leaving, she said, “you come on back if you ever need someone to cry with you over missing your grandbaby.” I sure will.
Building and maintaining relationships is the key to running a successful business. We need to build trust, listen, give and receive feedback and develop empathy. All business can “cut checks”. But business isn’t about that. It’s about people and how we can better serve them. Relationships. Trust. Integrity. Empathy.