RIP B2C and B2B
We are here today to say goodbye to two friends that served us well. Business to Customer and Business to Business - or better known by there street names - B2C and B2B. They were reliable companions in everything I did or looked to do in business.
When we first met, B2C was always there, pushing through the initial challenges of my career and always reminding me that no matter what I did, or what I thought, focusing on the customer outcome was paramount in being successful. B2C was also a little confused and at the same time, the communication methods from B2C was a little confused and this created unnecessary conflict with its customers.
And B2B…..<sigh>......I’m going to miss him most of all. B2B came into my life as my career progressed and enabled me to learn and perfect my skills. B2B taught me how to negotiate, improve my confidence and methods of communication. But B2B had a problem too. B2B was too busy talking about the widget and as a result, forgot that to conduct business, empathy and emotions are important to the customer it served.
And as a result, B2C and B2B seemed to always be in conflict. B2B was always focused on the widget and spent little time, even though he was always well intended, focusing on the customer.
B2C was also trying very hard, but she forgot how to have personal conversations. Some of B2C’s and B2B’s relatives evolved and disrupted the environment they all played in, and as a result, some of the slowest in the environment just didn’t make it.
But there was something that both of them forgot.
Businesses are not people. And businesses have no emotions. People do. And people want to be a part of something. They want to feel like they matter and that their interest in the business is valued. More importantly, people want to be included and understood. And business needs to remember that people are human too. They will make mistakes and will have failures. So be kind.
B2C and B2B would often joke about “the rise of the machines”, but now, with automation entering the fray, B2C and B2B lost street cred, and when that happens…..well...<sigh>..... here we are today saying goodbye.
But as I reflect on this, particularly on this very somber occasion, I do see something that B2C and B2B did not see, and that is how you can compete against the machines.
Human to Human.
Human beings are innately complex yet strive for simplicity. Our challenge as humans is to find, understand and explain the complex in its most simplistic form. This means you have to do this too. Find the commonality in our humanity, and speak the language we’ve all been waiting for. Create the experience you so desire and create a ripple of change that will filter though your entire organisation.
What do you have to lose?