What This Means For Your Business

By Mark Phillips  |  Posted 2011-02-14 Print this article Print

What this means for your business

The world of project management provides a good example of how the lessons of the social media-ATM comparison can apply in many business scenarios. Rather than reach, the focus should be on relationships and what transactions the customer wants to make.

As a project manager, there is no substitute for understanding your relationship with stakeholders and team members. Knowing what the relationship is, what your counterpart desires from it and how he or she wishes to interact is where the true value lies.

ATMs work simply because they were developed with customer preferences and goals in mind. They quickly, cheaply and efficiently meet customer needs. They are easy to use and perform a valuable function. Similar to ATMs, project managers must function with their stakeholders in mind. One crucial way to do this is to select the best tool for communicating with each customer. Each communication is a touchpoint, many of which are required to establish valuable relationships. In different instances, the touchpoint could be a meeting, a phone call, a one-to-one e-mail message, a mass e-mail message or a status update on an online social media platform.

Importantly, the correct touchpoint can change depending on the transaction details-even if the transaction is with the same person or people. At one point, an e-mail message might suffice. In another instance, a conference call is best. And for others, you'll need to arrange a face-to-face meeting, even if it costs more. Understanding the customer's needs and preferences enables managers to communicate effectively and build relationships. Those relationships turn the avatars on your company's Twitter "followers" page and the addresses in your e-mail database into customers that bring value to your enterprise.

ATMs do not have the capability to alter touchpoints for different transactional circumstances. Successful businesspeople do.

Mark Phillips is the Product Manager and Lead Spokesperson at Vertabase. Mark has presented to numerous professional groups on the subjects of software design, usability and project management. Mark has consulted for hundreds of organizations on project management and led the development of numerous Web-based and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Mark blogs about project management at www.vertabase.com/blog. He can also be reached at mark@vertabase.com.

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