By Thomas Reed

I’m proudly Generation X. Many of my generation and even more of those of the generation after me so-called Millennials, are drawn to the local shop down the street. If I have the choice between going to the big-box DIY store or going to the local hardware store, my choice is the local store. All things being equal, I like knowing my money is going back into the community, going to someone that more than likely knows me by sight if not by name.

Image of Frentz & Sons, Royal Oak, MI

I began to think more about this phenomenon after I read a column in last month’s Inc. Magazine (link below). I have worked for both 10-person (and smaller) operations locally and multi-national conglomerates. Since the smaller ops’ clients often matched the agency’s size, they could gain an intimate insight into their clients’ minds and plans. Even the larger agency based much of the work planned for our multi-billion dollar client on the relationship between our upper executives and the executives of our client.

Even here at Gadd Business Consultants (GBC), we must spend time with clients in a face-to-face manner to assess our clients’ needs. Personally, I find this one of the more satisfying parts of this job.

Many times the common wisdom dictates that we should move blindly toward automation and remote communication methods. While I recognize the value of saving time and increasing speed while decreasing friction, I think that taking this concept too far can decrease your full understanding of the client’s need and increase the possibility of  misunderstood communication. I think attention needs to be paid to balancing impersonal handling of clients with interpersonal communications.

Get Real | Jason Fried from July/August issue of Inc. Magazine

Do You Really Know Your Customers?