We have a great little cookbook in our kitchen. It’s all about pairing ingredients – you have the well-known ones like Salt and Caramel, but then there are the less obvious pairings like Peaches and Blue Cheese…

So how do Consultancy and Empathy pair up?

As a Mailchimp ‘expert’ consultant, I spend a lot of time talking to small business owners, helping them to discover how they can use Mailchimp’s communication and marketing tools to grow their business. Giving people the right advice in this kind of scenario means gaining an insight into a company within a pretty short timeframe.

Monday morning – I arrive at the customer’s premises…

So, before rocking up at 9:30am, I’ve done some some research into their company – I’ve checked out the website, had a look the Facebook page, maybe had a brief chat over the phone. But the really important questions need to be asked in person: Who are your customers? What are they interested in? How do you relate to your customers? What do they think about you? How frequently do you talk? What do they like? And, how can we organise your Audience so we can send them stuff they really want?

We are living in interesting times. We have access to an unprecedented and increasing amount of information about pretty much everyone. Whether you feel this is a good thing or not, small businesses can use this information to do what they should be doing – creating positive relationships.

For me, it’s about empathy with my own customers. Getting an insight into how they work and who they are. Calling on my own experience as a business owner as well as my technical knowledge. Revealing possibilities and making the right suggestions. Hopefully in turn, they’ll use the tools at their disposal to learn more about their own customers, and build their own relationships.