connected700x300

Respect all. Admire Some. Idolize none.

That is one of the most important lessons Ted Coine has ever learned. Be assured, Ted learned it through experience. As a youngster, Ted was sometimes guilty of two extremes common to the inexperienced: he did not respect all people as well as he should, and was sometimes guilty of idolizing others who he put on a pedestal.

But where Ted used to idolize strangers, he now admires friends. And one of those friends whom he has long admired is Ted Rubin. The admiration isn’t for breaking sporting records or building a business empire. It’s for how he carries himself, how he lives his life on the open pedestal we all occupy in this world gone social. Ted Rubin is on the very short list of social leaders whose example we (Ted C and Shawn) both admire and try to emulate.

ROR Book CoverSo you can imagine that, when his long-awaited book with co-author Kathyrn Rose finally came out, we were first in line for a copy. Return On Relationship is so much more than a catchy title. It’s a shift in the philosophy of how business will get done in this exciting new century – of how it already is getting done, at least among a small-but-growing cadre of savvy business professionals.

Let’s explore further the important philosophical shift in how business gets done in 21st century. At the risk of oversimplifying what’s at the heart of Rubin and Rose’s book, it’s about cultivating relationships.

Now you might be thinking, “Relationships have always been the cornerstone of business.” True. The shift, however, is found in embracing, understanding, failing then learning, and operationalizing how you build relationships using social technology.

The truth is you cannot control what is said about your company, its products or services. Today’s customers have a social arsenal available to them to tweet, share, like, Yelp, their experiences and beliefs about your company, and ultimately your brand. These communication channels connect customers and potential ones in a way you cannot control. And you need your people prepared to engage.

If you have not grasped this shift, the ground below you must feel very shaky. Social is not going away.  It’s not a fade. Or a phase.

 

Social is not going away.  It’s not a fade. Or a phase.

 

For the managers and leaders of any size company, Rubin and Rose’s book offers some actionable, compelling, real-world insights. Though brimming with compelling points and sage advice, here are two compelling points that resonated with us.

Modernize Your Organizational Structure

Listening and interacting with customers through social technology requires management to look at their organizational structure. You need to eliminate gaps and holes in your structure and processes that would lead customers to believe you aren’t prepared to meet their needs. What are the handoffs between marketing and customer service? How do you monitor and listen to what customers are saying? Rubin and Rose give some compelling examples and actionable steps to help you modernize your organizational structure and processes to include social.

 

You need to eliminate gaps and holes in your structure and processes that would lead customers to believe you aren’t prepared to meet their needs

 

Respond. Don’t Hide

The 24-hour news cycle has shown us what happens to companies that try to hide from the truth. So when social tools like Twitter or YouTube emerged, top managers let fear govern their decision to avoid and forbid employees to use any social media – an illusion of control.

What Rubin and Rose offer in Return on Relationship are solutions managers can implement to move beyond fear of social when engaging customers. To honor the relationship with customers, don’t businesses need to authentically address criticisms? Rubin and Rose believe it’s important. So do we.

Customers use social media sites to talk about your company. If you’re not there to listen and respond in a way to keep or build a new relationship, do you deserve to keep them as a customer?

 

If you’re not there to listen and respond in a way to keep or build a new relationship, do you deserve to keep them as a customer?

 

Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose show us how to do business in a more human way. How? They show us ways to build relationships with customers using today’s social technology. Going a step further, they show you why your brand depends on it.

Summing it up neatly, show your customers that you value the relationship with them by interacting with them, not ignoring them because of outdated business beliefs.