As our business gets busier and grows I’m realizing how much I value personal connection, and this post is to acknowledge that I want to continue to embrace this important value as Modern Metal grows.
RIOS – A design collective imagining future places
Just yesterday we zoomed for the first time with a RIOS, a design firm we’ve been talking to for over a year now. During our call, we all agreed how great it was to finally meet face to face. I don’t know why I never even picked up the phone to speak to them this past year! Our sales representative, Pamela Boggs has a lovely long standing relationship with the designers, and I just haven’t had the opportunity or necessity to meet in person because we’re all so efficient in emails. I’m going to start changing my approach and try to meet more of our customers in person. I’ve learned that it’s just so much better to know who you’re working with (and it is always a person, even in a big fancy company), and that maintaining that human connection makes the project that much more rewarding and meaningful in the end.
Most of our projects are custom, and require a lot of communication. We always email, exchange files, photos, etc. and we do meet in person when we can but it has become much less frequent overall, largely due to Covid. As we all know there were benefits to sheltering/working in place and we all became extremely efficient with just our screens, but I’m recognizing the fallout from that period a bit more now. Now, it’s a bigger deal to go out on appointments, call someone, and actually meet up. Sometimes, I even offer a zoom alternative right away as I feel self conscious and don’t want to impose on anyone’s schedule or time too much. Zoom is shorter, efficient, and for sure easier to cancel which can be appealing to all of us busy professionals. My fallback has become staying in and on screen, so I am working hard to actively fight that lazy urge!
Often I find that language is tricky—written emails can EASILY be misinterpreted. Tones can emerge, inadvertently giving someone on the other end the wrong vibe or impression. Most of us are human and fairly sensitive, so if we read an email that comes across as harsh, critical, etc. it can be upsetting. In business, this can be a tough road to navigate. I can’t stand having a customer not be happy, not even for a minute. My team knows I immediately try to fix everything, and often that entails just picking up the phone and discussing the situation person to person. 98% success rate on that strategy!
In an age where everyone is texting everything I’m desperately trying to teach my kids the importance of verbal communication. Picking up the phone and talking to someone has become a big deal to the younger generation and I almost don’t fault them. After all, one can’t even call to place an order to go at Noah’s Bagels anymore—have to use an app! This bothers me for so many reasons; I feel it further isolates people, especially elders who may not even use smartphones the way we do. I find it to be a hassle, so I can’t imagine how my parents must feel.
I may be old school (I am pretty positive I am) but I’m going to keep Modern Metal on a track of as much verbal communication as possible.