I felt moved to reprise my thoughts on care this week. Care to a customer-centric business, simply means philanthropy. Philanthropy simply means the desire to help people. Whilst philanthropy is associated, typically, with donations and charitable gestures, its underpinning is about “helping others.” When a business declares that it is customer centric, the signs of philanthropic care are evident everywhere.
Care means not having to say sorry to customers often. Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world, so from time to time, a business will need to say sorry for one thing or another. However, we should not live in a business universe where sorry is the most popular chant.
When a business declares that it is customer centric, the signs of philanthropic care are evident everywhere. Care means not having to say sorry to customers often.
If a business studies its customers, then making provision for their needs becomes a priority, with major outcomes being greater efficiency in producing great customer outcomes and less ball dropping. As a matter of fact, we’ve read about those businesses that know their customers so well that they can anticipate and make provision for their needs, before the needs arise, prompting delighted shouts of, “Oh my goodness, that’s just what I needed, how did you know?”
I have had many experiences of service providers making provision for my needs. In the majority of cases, I didn’t see it coming. I remember going for a facial at a really special spa a couple years ago. At the time I had a lower back ache, so I was a little uncomfortable in the reclining position. At my next visit, one month later, the same aesthetician ushered me into a room where she had prepared a heated recliner to ensure that I would be more comfortable. Both the aesthetician and the spa became keepers for me, just because of that small gesture of philanthropic care. In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s a spa in this country.
Care means that a business does not have to say sorry often to its employees. This is such a no-brainer for me that I don’t know why more businesses can’t get it right. No, actually, I think that I do know why they don’t get it right. It’s because few businesses commit to doing what’s necessary to being cultures of care and so, they fail to be sensitive to the needs of employees. Course correcting this unproductive style can begin with asking, acting and adjusting.
Employees should not be treated as if they are invisible and a business should know what’s on the minds of its employees, at all times. Acting on this intelligence shows a duty of care.
Asking means ensuring that provision is made for employees to have a voice and for their voice to be heard. Employees should not be treated as if they are invisible and a business should know what’s on the minds of its employees, at all times. Acting on this intelligence shows a duty of care. What’s the point of warehousing the knowledge and not using it to create a climate where employees can thrive? Then there’s the adjustment (or transitioning) to a permanent state of care, where the human touch becomes a signature cultural feature.
Care means that a business does not have to say sorry to the community in which it operates. This is the premise on which Neighbour Law is predicated and is often an overlooked area that can support the development of reputational excellence for a business. Opportunities to be a good neighbour abound and these are the days when the social conscience of a business should be on full display. Depending on the budget, the application of philanthropic care can show up anywhere from the construction and maintenance of a community basketball court, to proper disposal of effluent (not indiscriminate dumping), to a hamper distribution program.
Care is a universal language that employees, customers and community stakeholders understand.
Care is a universal language that employees, customers and community stakeholders understand. When a business performs well consistently, we stand in great admiration, but we become star-struck when that same business shows up with a humanitarian persona, consistently. Our pockets will love the customer experience, but our hearts will be wedded to the human experience.
A culture of care means not having to say sorry often. So, to the businesses out there, how about mastering the art of not committing sins in the first place, rather than majoring in the minor art of “saying sorry” often?