This is a really fun interview with Steve Chow because he talks about something I believe is super important to having a successful business – balancing automation vs engaging with customers.
We all want to use automation when scaling our companies – or when creating companies where we have to do less work. But over-utilizing automation can cause you to lose the benefits of actually engaging with your audience.
For example, Steve Chow shares that his blog and online course were designed to be fully automated, with a detailed email series that was designed to sell the course on its own. With this model, he was able to make approximately 2 sales/day. But when he became more personally active, things really took off.
By running a series of live webinars, Steve was able to make over $200K in sales in just 3 1/2months. That’s incredible! That, to me, is a testament to the power of being live and connecting with your clients.
The need to be present also manifested itself in Steve’s online store where at first he tried to avoid customer service as much as possible.
Of course, when he began talking and interacting with customers, he was able to truly find out what was wrong with the site and what could be improved.
One time, Steve observed that one of his customers was having difficulties completing a purchase from her online shopping cart. By communicating with her, Steve discovered that it was because her smart phone kept improperly completing the auto-fill for the online forms. After learning this, Steve simply disabled auto correct for the forms in the mobile site.
If you’re not truly engaging with customers it can be difficult or even impossible to find, fix, and optimize your website and services.
The moral of the story is this: every smart entrepreneur tries to find new ways to automate. The challenge is to to put yourself out there and continue engaging with customers to find out what they are looking for.
Automation still has a place and there’s a lot of cool things you can do….but you definitely don’t want to take your personality out of your business. If you’ve been holding back in any way when it comes to sharing stories of your personal life with your community, now’s the time to share your humanity with your tribe!
Focus on engagement first, then put the systems in place that can imitate the live engagement that you’ve already developed.
More About Steve Chow
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. He currently works for a startup company in the Silicon Valley.