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0 Comments The Importance of the Face-to-Face Meeting

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 28 Feb 2014 in Business

I believe if you want to get a reading on the pulse of your business, you do so by sitting across from your customer and have a candid conversation.

I’m a little frazzled as I write this blog.  I’m now waiting to take off for Winnipeg. It was a bit off an adventure making my flight because the airport was jammed packed.  Maybe the number of planes taking off and landing today came as surprise to the folks Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.  Maybe someone should provide this information to the airport in advance because keeping it a secret is not fair to those working at the airport.  The delightful lady checking me on at the Air Canada counter mentioned to me that I was very lucky to make the flight because they were mere moments away to closing the flight.  Maybe I wouldn’t have had to cut it so close if I didn’t have to wait in line long enough to be able to consummate a relationship and actually witness the birth.  Whew, thank god for priority check in.  After asking me three times where I was going I decided to play Pictionary. Out comes a pen and a piece of paper…I drew a picture of Canada…and the Provinces going west…a stick plane…a stick man (that would be me) appearing to be sitting on the plane…and then I pointed to where I was going.  She yelled out, Manitoba!  I touched my nose with my finger to indicate she was right.  I’ll let you guess which I finger I used.

 You know what makes you forget about a crappy experience at Pearson airport?  Going to visit great customers in Winnipeg!  Seriously, this isn’t pandering or blowing smoke.  How can you not marvel and appreciate a community who can deal with the fact that it was colder in parts Manitoba this winter than on Mars.  Not kidding.  Evidently the temps in parts of Manitoba reached minus 45 with the wind-chill this winter – Its  minus 42 on Mars. That’s why they giggle at us Ontario when we say it’s so cold here, like minus a gazillion, which translates to minus 20.  In Manitoba the weather is a “so what”. They deal with it and move on.  Impressively, for a number of years, the broker market in Manitoba has moved forward.  For someone like me, who’s been in this business for a few years, it’s fascinating to watch an emerging broker market in Canada.  The broker space is still fairly new to Manitoba.  One of the things that I am really proud of was we, Merix Financial, were the first lender in the broker space to have boots on the ground in Manitoba on a full-time basis.  The common practice used to be to fly over Manitoba and then pop into Winnipeg once every six weeks.  We recognized that things were changing in Manitoba, and the market warranted a full time presence.  Most of the lenders in the broker space now have followed suit.  Sometimes it’s hard to be humble. 

The purpose of the visit is to sit across the table from some of our customers to get a reading on how we’re doing.  I believe if you want to get a reading on the pulse of your business, you do so by sitting across from your customer and have a candid conversation.  You look them straight in the eye and ask them to tell you the truth.  Surveys are important, and they have value.  But a leader of any organization has to take the time to meet with their loyal customers.  It’s impossible to meet every customer but it’s negligent not to meet any.  I promised myself 2014 was the year of customer engagement for me.  I was going to get my ass out of the office because we were spending too much time having meetings about having meetings.  I instructed my Senior Leadership Team to cut back on their meetings this year, and let’s get out in the field and work on enhancing our employees skill set – let’s find out what our customers are thinking.  I know – a novel concept.  That’s why I’m looking forward to meeting a few of our loyal customers like Buzz Grant, Naseer Chaudhry, Victor Schaefer, Jeff Moore and Jeff Sparrow.  What makes them great customers is that they understand businesses can have a hiccups, that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control, and they don’t flip you for a nickel.  That’s why their opinion matters.

 Until next time,


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