Genii Weblog

Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.

Thu 17 Jul 2003, 09:52 AM
Over at Signals vs. Noise, there is a post called The Power of a Handwritten note which I found compelling.  Since one of the obvious reasons why many of us start weblogs is to share a bit of the more personal, human side of what is otherwise an impersonal website, it got me thinking what else we do, or could do, to more personally connect with our customers or clients.

One way, of course, is to actually meet them.  I have been speaking at Lotusphere (and Devcon once) for a few years, and it is a great way to meet people.  Since many of my customers are in countries outside the United States, I have also recently spoken in Düsseldorf at a developer conference, and am pleased to be part of the UK admin/developer conference that Ed Brill mentioned recently on his blog.

Besides that though, I try hard to personally connect with customers even when we only meet through e-mail.  I avoid automated replies and follow-ups, and generally try to treat each customer as a person with a problem to be solved or an opportunity to be met, rather than as a potential revenue source.  I intentionally don't charge for support, as I want people to keep up a dialogue with me over a period of years so that I can learn from them how they use my products and how they could use them better, and because I just like to know that they are happy they bought the software in the first place.

For those of you who sell products, what do you do to connect personally?  

For those who are consultants, and are likely to actually meet your clients, what do you do to connect before you meet them, and what do you do to follow up afterwards?  

For customers and clients, what experiences have you had that make you feel more connected with consultants or software companies?  Do you even think that is important?  In many ways, your opinions matter the most.

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