Do You Have the Audacity to Make an Authentic Personal Connection in Your Biz?
Making a personal connection in biz can improve your client + customer service — and radically improve the impact you make as a brand.
That’s because it helps you stop seeing your online business only in terms of straight numbers, and start seeing it for the fullness of what it TRULY is:
A help for living, breathing, struggling, aspiring human beings.
When you start seeing what you do in this way, you treat people…well, you treat them differently.
In almost every way, you treat them better.
This not only makes you a great biz owner. It makes people like you. Listen to you. TRUST you.
If you’ve ever wondered how you get to be an “influential brand” — that is, how you reach that level where people mention you on social media, often refer people to you, and faithfully rely on your advice or solution to their own problems — this is the (plain and yet sometimes hard) answer.
You need to care about people and reach them in a place that matters before you can even think about reaching the heights that matter to you.
Happily, Kelly Wilson of Fit Fizz Studio gets that — and that’s why I’m eager to share her customer service wisdom on the blog today!
Read on to discover how she tries to make that authentic personal connection with her clients and customers (even when the things that come up in conversation are intimate and difficult):
1. Tell me a little bit about your business from a service perspective! Who do you serve? Why, specifically, do you feel that client/customer happiness is important to your brand?
My business is called Fit Fizz and can be found online at https://fitfizzstudio.com. I create handmade fitness-centric gifts and accessories. As a personal trainer and Behavior Change Specialist, I’ll be offering much more in the future, including online training programs and coaching classes that will help people overcome roadblocks they might keep hitting on their way to success with fitness goals.
Although I do have some products that target powerlifters (I am one myself), I really have something to offer for everyone, at any point of a fitness journey. Many of my products are about embracing strength — internally and externally. You won’t find products about flexing or showing off a six-pack. Fit Fizz embraces strength over aesthetics. Fitness comes in all sizes of bodies that are willing and able! That is so important to me.
Part of my brand plan that will be evolving over time is to speak out about the stigma surrounding mental illness. I have struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD for many years and a lot of the struggle was really only from backlash of judgmental people. I have found that many of my friends who compete in strength sports also use lifting as an outlet for similar reasons.
I hope that being a voice for people who suffer in silence might ignite some determination for them to find the inner strength they need. Some of the profits from certain items will be donated to causes that support mental health.
2. How customer service savvy were you when you started out in business? Are there any particular experiences, resources, or tools that have helped you improve since then?
I got a degree in graphic design in 1999 and have been working as a designer ever since. For roughly 7 years or so I was self-employed with my own freelance clients. At that time I had no idea what I was doing from a business standpoint, but I learned a lot along the way about customer service.
I went back to corporate life and for quite some time now I have fully realized that I’m burned out on the drudgery. I also never truly enjoyed freelancing because of the stress of contracts and paperwork. Fit Fizz was eventually born as a way to mix my passion for fitness with my experience as a graphic designer. However, I have learned a lot this year that there is so much more to keep track of when selling physical good over selling services.
Something else that I’ve learned this year while being a new business owner is learning to set limits on the amount of time I take to read, research, learn and digest allllll of the great info that’s out there. I force myself to set a time limit on that stuff so that I still have time to implement all that I’m learning. There’s no use in soaking in all the great info if you don’t allow sufficient time to actually execute it!
It’s fine to sign up for the newsletters, watch the Periscopes, discover things on Pinterest, etc., but don’t mistake that for being productive. Those things won’t make money unless you’re using them! So my best advice is the be aware of that. Sometimes I will literally set a timer so I know it’s time to stop reading and work.
3. Could you tell me about a couple of small-but-mighty things that you try to do to make people happy about your brand and the services/products you provide?
As new as my business is, I’ve already connected with a few people on a pretty deep level who have seen that I’m using my business to talk about issues like depression, PTSD, sexual assault and how to push through the dark days.
It can be a fine line between business and personal, but when people do take the time to email me stories of their experiences or thank me letting them know they’re not alone, I do hope that I can bring them a small ray of sunshine by taking the time to give some encouragement. I try to let them know the brief version of my personal struggles so that they feel safe but I also try to not let my story overpower theirs.
I will also never tell them I know how they feel. Not all depression is the same. Not all PTSD is the same. They are entitled to know that how they feel is valid.
It’s amazing to me how many people have never been told that.
I am so ready to be that voice for them. I’m committed to not being just another fitness company. There is a greater purpose.
4. Every online brand owner eventually has an experience where something doesn’t go so well with a fan, client, or customer! Please share about one of those times, and what you’d do if you had it to do all over again.
So far with this business I’ve been lucky. I did have one customer who was unhappy with her purchase. She bought one of my hand-stamped spoons that said “Peanut Butter Destroyer”. I pointed out to her that my descriptions clearly state there will be variances in letter spacing and depth (although not sloppy by any means) and that is part of the character of the item.
I think people are so used to manufactured products that sometimes they forget the beauty of handmade items. I did offer her a refund but she decided to keep it.
5. What do you think people would be surprised to hear about providing great customer service as an online business owner?
As a business owner you have to be prepared to repeat the same things a lot. People don’t read the details. People don’t know your business inside-out like you do. People aren’t as familiar with your industry as you are. Remember that.
Just because you explained the same thing to four other people that day, the fifth person doesn’t know that. Keep that in mind.
6. I’d love to hear about a favorite quote, saying, or memory that you rely on to inspire your brand’s customer service culture. 🙂
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Kelly Wilson been a graphic designer for 20+ years and also been a fitness instructor/trainer for 20+ years. Her new business, Fit Fizz, is a combination of the two where she creates handmade gifts and accessories that are all about embracing strength — it is Fitness Effervescence!
How do you connect with your clients or customers on a personal level (that goes beyond “just business as usual”)? Are you ever surprised when it comes to the experiences or conversations you’ve had with people in your biz?