Business 2 Business = Human 2 Human

I am always bemused by the phrase B2B (business to business) that I see peppered across companies’ websites and associated promotional material. I assume the message that a company wishes to convey is that there is some form of exchange of goods and/or services for payment between them and some other company.

Instead what I’d like for you to consider is that a company does not do business with another company per se. These corporate entities are in fact staffed by humans sometimes consisting of a small handful and other times running into the thousands of employees.

At the most basic and fundamental level, the delivery of said goods and services may only occur when both parties agree upon the value of the exchange. However, to make this a regular event (ie repeat business = recurring income/cashflow/profits) the emotionally intelligent business owner will make exemplary customer service a priority.

If this is a given, why is it that as a business expands the process becomes increasingly depersonalized? Perhaps in the rarified atmosphere of upper management habitats the high altitude causes them to ignore the golden rule of customer service.

To illustrate:

My local supermarket belongs to a chain that makes up one half of the duopoly in Australia. Also within my local area is a newly opened shop (Red Cacao http://www.redcacao.com.au) whose owners have a vision of their customers not just enjoying a coffee with their hand made chocolates but be taken on a rather pleasant excursion into appreciating how the country of origin influences the taste, aroma and texture of the coffee and cocoa beans.

I buy my groceries from the supermarket for the sake of convenience; the level of interest and commitment seems to oscillate between indifferent and somewhat enthused depending on the day I shop.

I go to Red Cacao for a great coffee and chocolate experience.

As for practicing the golden rule, it came in the form of Red Cacao’s owners trusting me to return their glassware when I purchased their scrumptious tiramisu to take home rather than consume on the premises.

In contrast, I don’t think I would be able to borrow the supermarket trolley for a couple of days to cart my groceries home!

Hooray for the SME’s who are giving it a red hot go in one of the most competitive industries in Australia. Well done!

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