What makes the world go around? Yes, I know the answer is gravity, but I mean the human world. What makes everything “tick”? Consider, for a moment, the fact that we can fly anywhere we like these days. We can turn up at an airport, check in and be on the other side of the planet in less than a day. How is that possible? Jet engines, efficient fuel, the skills of pilots, computer aided systems all play their part. However, without the relationship between the two Wright brothers, we might still be walking. Flying as we know it is only possible because these two worked together so well.
Now, you are probably reading this online. You connect your computer by a telephone-based system that interconnects computers around the world. How is that possible? Well, without the invention of telephony we would be nowhere. Moreover, how did the telephone get started? Alexander Graham Bell was at the forefront of this technology. However, without the relationship he had with his wife his invention may have floundered. She helped him test out his ideas.
Consider too how you manage to write anything down. Your ability to write was forged by the relationship you had between yourself and your teacher.
It’s relationships that make the world go around. Microsoft depended on the relationship between Gates and Bulmer. Google depended upon Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Even Iraq depended on the relationship between Bush and Hussein. Success, or otherwise, is absolutely and fundamentally dependent upon the relationships we have with other people.
So, tell me this, why on the Internet do so many people tell you that success is dependent upon “search engine optimisation”? Do really successful companies online spend hours, days, weeks and months “tweaking” lines of computer code just to get an advantage in the search engines? Do they heck. The really successful online companies – like Amazon – devote the bulk of their attention to forming relationships with their customers and potential customers. Does Microsoft worry about search engine positioning? Does Wal-Mart? What about Disney? You see, to big brands it’s not the position in search engine that matters. These companies only got to where they are because the put relationships at the heart of their business.
In the UK, the leading retailer is Tesco. One in every eight pounds spent in the UK economy is spent in Tesco. Wow! How did they do that? Well, according to the company’s CEO, Sir Terry Leahy, it has only been possible because the company changed its focus from the competition, to building relationships with customers. Tesco spends a huge amount of its time and energy on customer relationships.
Yet, look at the average web site. How much of it is devoted to relationship building? I took 100 web sites at random and only found one that had any focus on customer relationships. Most companies believe “we need a web site” but that’s where they end their thinking. They don’t consider what the web site is actually for in the eyes of the customer or potential client. Simply having a web site is not enough these days. Your web site focus needs to be on building relationships with your readers. And don’t forget you do that offline as well as online. So what do you think?
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+