The exchange of business cards is a long-standing tradition that spans all the way back to the 15th century when folks in China used to exchange “visiting cards” or “calling cards” – cards that visitors wrote their names, notes or messages. The cards were introduced in Europe in the 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV.
Bobbie Johnson, Technology reporter for BBC News, has written a thought-provoking article on the effect technology is having on business cards.
When I think of “Inclusion and Diversity”, I automatically think about creating a diverse and inclusive workforce environment: providing all employees with learning and development opportunities, ensuring employees with disabilities have the right tools and resources and educating all employees on how to work with people with disabilities, sending out regular communications on techniques for how to strengthen inclusion and diversity in the workplace and so forth.
Reading this article from UTalkMarketing.com this morning over a cup of coffee made me question my own definition of “Inclusion and Diversity.” I came to the conclusion that my view on this subject was far too narrow – I was focussing on it from a purely internal perspective and needed to think outside of the box and include an external perspective too. Inclusion and Diversity isn’t just about making your diverse workforce feel included; it’s also about ensuring that your customers feel included AND that their voices and their business needs lie at the heart of your business.
The author of this article, Chris Beswick, argues that businesses need to develop a relationship with their customers, look at the world from their perspective and appreciate the problems they face and the things they aspire to. Instead of focussing on their own products and services, businesses need to put greater focus on their customers’ problems and tensions – it’s not “what you do”, i.e. what you sell; what you provide, but rather “how you do it”, i.e. how you fuel innovation and differentiation.
Yet Beswick argues that true customer-centricity is only possible if you first become people-centric. In his words the only way you can provide an exceptional end-to-end customer experience is to ensure that everyone in your organisation understands how to collaborate on solving your customers’ problems.
How do you extend Inclusion and Diversity to your customers? Share your thoughts below.
Do you have an Inclusion and Diversity story to share? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve often said that the boundaries between work and life are blurring. I use Twitter every day to collaborate, talk with friends and engage in conversations I don’t normally have in the natural course of my business day. It’s amazing to send out a tweet and to have people react immediately.
And while technology lets us send a single tweet to people around globe, it has other fantastic benefits, too—it also lets us attend a conference without having to even board a plane.
Join me at Cisco’s Virtual Partner Summit March 1-3, 2011 to see live keynotes, breakout sessions that will help you prepare a customer for a cloud solution, and a chance to ask me and other Cisco executives questions during live video chats. (All without having to leave home.) Register today.
Want to hear more about the topics that are top-of-mind for me as I head into Partner Summit? Read More »
If you serve small or medium business and aren’t planning to attend Partner Summit 2011, we’ll bring some of the content to your area with the Advantage Now! event on March 1, 2011.
The event will give you the information you need about new and enhanced Cisco collaboration solutions that will help you build a more profitable practice.
After all, the nature of how businesses communicate is changing. Your customers are interacting with their customers in new and different ways – to serve them better and to build stronger relationships.