Why is the human element important? Why should your business care?
You can compete with price. You can compete with design. You can compete with reliability. So why would you want to compete on the human front? Why is it important that you win this particular war?
Feeling cannot be given a price tag, so the human element is the only business strategy that is not subject to commodification and price war. It makes people feel good to be appreciated, it cannot be scaled (which means money can’t buy it), and once your customers are getting it, it’s something your customers don’t want to lose.
This means that intimacy allows smaller businesses to compete with larger ones by acting in ways larger organizations cannot. It cannot be competed against directly, the same way friends can’t “compete” against each other for your affection. The game becomes “with,” not “instead of.”
You have to focus where you can win. McDonald’s makes a burger faster than your local joint, and it’s more consistent– and some people want that. But for those that want an experience and a feeling of coming somewhere special, no McDonald’s or Starbucks will do, nor will any contrived substitute.
So offer them what they really want. Make your staff genuinely charming. Make them do something special for people who are regulars, not just “loyalty programs.” And a special kind of person will, in fact, come.