Miles Traveled : A Tale of Personal Connection in Business

Why in-person meetings cannot be done away with in business relationships

Recently, I encountered a discrepancy in the weight of a shipment during an international courier process. Despite careful packing and coordination, there was a significant 12 kg difference between their calculation and my own.

In an effort to address this issue, I engaged in a discussion with the owner of the franchise. While my intention was solely to understand the discrepancy and find a resolution collaboratively, I encountered challenges in the conversation. Despite my assurances of trust and respect for their work, the conversation became tense as the owner felt defensive. I found myself feeling unheard and concerned about the situation. Wanting to resolve matters in person, I offered to meet at their office.

The Road To Resolution

Driving 45 minutes to get there, I arrived with a determination to find common ground and a solution. Walking in, I lightened the mood by announcing, "I am here to make new friends." My intention was clear: to ease tension and engage in a productive friendly discussion.

Arriving at the courier company's office, I could sense tension in the air. Despite my efforts to lighten the mood, there was an underlying nervousness. However, as we began discussing the situation, something remarkable happened.

Both the owner of the franchise and I approached the conversation with openness and a genuine desire to understand. Despite initial apprehensions, we gradually found common ground. It became evident that miscommunication and oversight had contributed to the weight discrepancy.

Through our dialogue, I came to realize that my focus on the weight calculation hadn't fully accounted for the added weight of packaging and bubble wrapping. This did not come up in our zoom and phone conversations. The owner was able to express herself better as she recognized that my intention was not to judge, but to seek clarity and resolution.

Zoom Meetings block our Human Flow

As our conversation unfolded and we reached a resolution, a sense of relief washed over both of us. But what followed was even more remarkable – a conversation that transcended the initial issue and blossomed into a mutual exchange of ideas and inspiration.

Curious about the inner workings of her international shipping business, I listened intently as she shared her journey of singlehandedly establishing the franchise in Mumbai for a renowned courier company. Her dedication to customer service and her willingness to go the extra mile left me truly inspired.

As we delved deeper into discussion, I couldn't help but share my own thoughts about setting up a supply chain for my physical products store. What followed was an offer that exceeded my expectations. She generously proposed to coordinate with my suppliers, streamline the process, and even handle the logistics of shipping everything directly to me from her hub.

The relief I felt as a business owner trying to navigate a complex supply chain was immense. It was a testament to her commitment to not only her own business but also to supporting fellow entrepreneurs in their endeavors.

I felt even on a zoom meeting, I wouldn't have learned these things about her business and she wouldn't have been shared, because video meetings and phone calls are not our natural way of being with people and our flow in natural human connection tends to get blocked.

Concluding thoughts

Reflecting on this experience, I'm struck by how different the outcome could have been if I hadn't made the decision to meet in person. Misunderstandings could have persisted, leading me to seek out alternative courier companies and potentially facing unnecessary struggles.

But my firm belief in the power of personal meetings to truly understand people compelled me to drive to her office, and I'm grateful I did. What unfolded was far beyond what I could have imagined.

In-person interaction not only facilitated a smoother resolution but also allowed for a deeper understanding of her services and offerings. The conversation flowed effortlessly, and I gained invaluable insights into the extra mile they go for their customers – insights I would have never gleaned from a phone call alone.

While technology has its merits, there's no substitute for face-to-face interaction when it comes to building relationships, understanding needs, and uncovering opportunities. Once trust is established it becomes easier to make things happen through phone calls and zoom meetings.

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Categories: Leadership