Build A Culture of Caring
Over the years you have heard about good companies. You have heard about great companies. However, you rarely hear about the caring companies, the companies that truly care about people. So should your business build a culture of caring?
Studies show that 85% of people hate their job. 85% of people spend the majority of their time at a place they hate. Not dislike hate. 90% of people state that work is a source of frustration rather than fulfillment. This is because we do not care in business.
Okay, these are very surprising stats. But who cares?
Well, you should. A caring culture in your business can fuel your growth. Caring in business will help you retain your best employees, recruit better talent, retain your customer base, and help you find new sources of revenue. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Caring in business is something that all companies need to look at. But few ever will. If you are not a caring business, you are stalling your growth.
The Benefits of a Caring Culture in Business
Here is my personal opinion, right or wrong. I will let you decide. If you are going to get into business, you need to care about the people around you. This includes your customers, your employees, and your coworkers. For me, caring in business is the only way to go about conducting business. So, let’s take a look at a few benefits of caring in business.
In your personal business encounters, think about the companies you like and go back to over and over. I bet you are like me. You find a company that you like because they seem to care about you. You go back and repurchase over and over.
Think of it this way. Customers are the most important asset you have in a business. Yes, I said asset. Without your wonderful customers, you are going to constantly be looking for new business. We all know that it cost more money to find new customers to create repeat business.
Caring about your customers first will increase your bottom line. Once you get a customer, do everything you can to keep them.
Enhance Your Company Reputation
Have you ever connected with a company? You know the company that actually took the time to get to know you? A company that seemed to be built just for you.
When I first started my marketing agency, I was looking for a CRM and marketing automation software. I went to the normal channels, Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, and a handful of others. These companies all made me feel like a number or just another order.
As I continued to look for a company, I came across SharpSpring. They were different. They cared about my business. Maybe it was because they were the new kid on the block. Maybe it was their agency only business model.
Whatever it was, they cared enough that they helped me along the sales cycle answering questions and making me feel like a part of their company. They even invited me to a customer only networking event that was being hosted in my area.
Over the years they have evolved and grown. The one thing that is the same, they still care about me. My account representative reaches out once a month and we have great conversations. He always has time for me.
Further, they are now rated as one of the best marketing automation platforms out there. All because they care.
Builds a Brand People Trust
When a consumer looks to make a purchase there is one thing that always bubbles to the top. Can I trust this brand? Building trust with your customer base is going to take time and tons of effort.
On the flip side, consumers also know when you are trustworthy pretty. They also know when you are faking it.
Here is the point. If you are bringing value to the customer and building a caring business, it will show. Your brand will become more trustworthy and this will increase brand loyalty. Something we all need in this hyper-competitive environment.
Build your brand on caring, not revenue, not sales projects, not stock price, not impressions, just caring. Build that trustworthy brand from the beginning. Everything else will fall into place.
Increases Employee Morale
We all know that your employees are important to your business. So why not show them that you actually care about them. I mean, without them, where is the company? Probably up you know where creek.
As you continue to build your business and company, make sure that you are taking care of your employees. Show them that you care by giving them a little more time off, give them covered parking, and please, please listen to them.
If you care about your employees, they will care about the business, they will care about the customers. This is going to make everyone happy. Even your cranky old board members.
Creates a Competitive Advantage
Here is the last point on the benefits of caring in business and this is super important. Caring in business is going to build a competitive advantage. This is something that your competition cannot copy, replicate, or duplicate. Your competitive advantage is what sets you apart from your competition.
It is hard to replicate true caring in business.
However, if you can surround your company with people that care, your business will build something that is long-lasting. Build a competitive advantage that truly sets you apart and invites your customers back.
How to Build A Culture of Caring?
Great stuff to this point, I know. You are ready to jump on that caring in business bandwagon, but you have no idea how to get started. Well, my friend, you are in luck. I would not leave you high and dry. Here are a few of my tips to get started building a caring business.
Are you ready? I was hoping you would say that.
Define Your Why
Before you can actually start to care in your business, you need to know why you are in business in the first place. We need to get back to the reason we started the company. Most of us, this started with a solution to a problem. We need to remember why we are doing this whole thing every day.
Let’s real quick talk about why building your why is important (see what I did there). There are so many other resources that do a better job, so here are some links.
Once you determine your why, you are able to define who you are going to serve. You can now find your ideal customer. You know, people you actually care about. Define your why to identify your potential customer base.
What product or service are you going to provide to your customer? Your why will let you know. If you are going to become a caring company, your product or service should align with your why. Just a thought, your product or service should also be focused on helping your customer solve a need.
Your why should define your products or services. Not the other way around. That would be like trying to place a square peg in a circular hole.
Your why helps you define what is really important and helps you define how you are going to actually care in your business. Before you can move forward, ensure that you have defined your why.
Note: Did you notice nothing about this was about making money? I believe that if you are in business solely to make money, you are already not caring and this is going to show. If you only focus on the financial aspects, your customers will know.
Caring Business Culture Includes Your Employees
Did you know that 79% of employees that quit their job, quit because they did not feel appreciated? Let that sink in managers. Your employees are quitting because you do not appreciate them.
My biggest question, do we have this many crappy managers out there? Don’t answer that.
If you are going to become a caring organization, you need to make sure that it starts with your employees. If you do not care for your employees, why should they care about the customer, the bottom line, or you for that matter?
I want to make it clear here. You do not need to become the super crazy company that overdoes it. Unlimited vacation, cereal bars, and free massages are all great perks, but not always realistic. These things do not show that you truly care about them, they do show that you are making too much money. They are great, but not all companies can afford these luxuries.
What I am talking about here is actually caring for your employees by listening, helping, mentoring, and growing them. Get to know the names of their children. Understand why they decided to work for your company. Listen to their problems.
Short side story. In my past, I have kind of been the person that people bring issues to. I know what you are saying, it is because I am so handsome. Well, as I have gotten older, balder, and wider, they still bring me their issues, both personal and professional.
Here is my secret or curse. I listen when they bring me issues. 90% of the time I do not have a solution other than an ear to bend, but this is often enough.
Caring in business is not about giving your employees perks, it is about being a real, decent human being. Going to be hard for some, I know.
Truly Mean What You Say
The other day I was talking with a colleague. They told me that there was a new corporate development that was marketing themselves as a “completely green” building. However, as they were looking at the space they asked about recycling. They needed to throw their water bottle away.
“We don’t recycle in this building because the city does not have a corporate recycling program. The response was very interesting, being that is a” green building”. Either you are a green company or you are not. Recycling is probably one of the easiest things to do.
Here is the point. If you are going to care in business, you better mean it. If you are going to change your mission and vision statement to show that your business cares, make sure you back it up.
Don’t be the fake company that is saying something to get more sales and generate more leads. It really does not work this way. Remember, people have a BS monitor and it is always on. Do not market your company based on BS. You will get called out.
A Caring Culture in Business Empowers Your Staff To Do The Right Thing
In order to care in business, you have to ensure that your employees have the power to do the right thing. They need to be able to make decisions that impact your customer base without the need to ask the CEO of the company for a $5 refund.
Imagine the following:
You call into a customer service phone number because you just bought a pair of relatively expensive headphones. After one month of use, they break.
“Hello, how may I help you?”
You are expecting a battle because you no longer have the receipt and you know the drill. Calling customer service is just the worst. You are amped up and ready to argue because that is what you have been trained to do.
“Well, you see, my headphones broke and I am looking to get a new pair.”
“Sure, when did you buy them and do you still have the receipt?”
Here it comes, you can already feel your blood boiling as you get ready for the fight of your life.
“Well, I bought them only a month ago and I do not have the receipt anymore. Is that going to be a problem?”
“Not at all, I just need to get your name and address to send you a return shipping package. I am going to get your request in the system, send out the shipping package complete with a return label, and send you a new pair of headphones that you should receive in about a week. What color did you purchase?…”
They complete the order and get your new headphone out to you with absolutely no issues.
The experience was not at all what you were expecting. The company cares about its end customer and has given the employee the ability to do the right thing.
Maybe you head over to social media and share your experience. Maybe you tell a few of your friends about the experience. Maybe you do nothing.
One thing that is for sure, is that you will purchase your next set of headphones from the same company. No doubt about it.
Empowering your employees does 2 things. One, it delights the end user. Two, it shows that you trust your employees to do what is right. If you care in business, your employees need to be able to do what is right.
Caring in Business means Getting Personalized with Your Communications
We live in a great time. We are able to get personal with just about every communication to our customer base. Through great marketing automation software and CRMs, we can personalize our communications without having a huge headache.
However, if you really care in business is going much further than just adding the first name of the customer to an email or two. You are going to create experiences that truly personalize their experience.
Here is an example.
Over the last 8 months, we have been marketing and selling a product. Initial results were really good. Sales were happening, revenue was increasing, and we were all excited to see the product take off.
4 months into the product launch we were running some reports and growth stalled. We were flat at best. So I looked into the customer a little further. The result was nobody was renewing their monthly license.
We would add 15 new customers and lose 14. We hit the plateau.
I sat down with our support team to dig a little deeper. We met, brainstormed, and figured out the problem.
There was no belonging. There was no reason to stick around. There was no personalization outside an email and a 1-800 number.
Over the next month, the marketing team and support team created an onboarding process that covered all the main components of our software, included customer support portals, and most importantly build a personal relationship with a real person, their Customer Success Agent.
I know that this is not revolutionizing stuff, but it was what our customer wanted. They wanted to feel as if they were more than a number. The wanted to feel as if we cared about their success.
If you want to care in business, get personal with your relationships.
Listen, Just Listen shows Your Culture of Caring
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey
The other day a co-worker came into my office, closed the door, and asked if they could chat. I said sure, of course. She told me that she was going to quit because of the way she was being treated on an RFP (request for proposal) project that she just submitted (the work was done, thank God).
The root of the problem, nobody was listening to her. She is our lead copywriter and she needs to give the final proof, format the document, and print. The deadline was the end of the day. She had been asking for internal edits for weeks, and people waited until the last minute.
As she was editing and finalizing the document, more and more information came in. There were edits from sales, technology, and executives that should have already been done.
Nobody listened to her, the timeline, and the result was mad chaos.
She came in and vented. She told me about all the things that went wrong. She told me about the missed timeline, lack of effort, and the blow-up at the end.
I put down my phone, I closed my laptop and listened. The conversation lasted about 23 minutes and I said nothing.
A few days later she came back and said thanks for listening and she was going to stick around because I listened to her. Not because I gave her excellent advice. Just because I took the time and listened.
If you are going to care in business, it starts by listening. Listening is one of the most underrated skills in business. We tend to want to hear ourselves speak because it makes us look good (so we think). We want to show how smart we are and how many good ideas we have.
As you show that you actually care, listen with open ears. Listen because you want to hear the other person. Listen because you want to help. Listen because you want to act on the conversation.
Be transparent, Always
Your customers, employees, and even your mother want more transparency into what you are doing. According to a recent study by Label Insight, up to 94 percent of consumers surveyed indicated that they were more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency, while 73 percent said they were willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency.
So, how does your company go about being more transparent?
Well, you are in luck. The rise of social media has given your company an outlet to be more transparent than ever. You can create simple posts that show what is going on in the company, share information on-demand, and really open up your company to the world. Being transparent in business is easier today, than ever before.
Customers and employees want to feel as if you have nothing to hide. Being transparent, helps your audience understand what to expect and lets them know you actually care about them.
Word of caution, just make sure you actually care and want to be transparent, your audience knows the difference.
Share Your Goals
Here is one of my favorite things to do. Share your goals. As a business, side hustle, or whatever you are working on you have a goal. Let everyone know about it.
Currently, I am in the process of increasing traffic to my website. The goal is to generate 4,000 hits per month and I am trying to share with you how to get there.
Here is my thought. If you care about your audience and you want to do what is right by them, share your goals. What is the worst that can happen? You competition finds out and tries to beat you to the punch? Well, they still have to outwork you.
I have found that caring in business is the only way of doing business, a true culture of caring will help your bottom line. When you wake up in the morning, you should be filled with a sense of helping others. It amazes me to this day that so many people do not like their job. I believe this could be fixed if we as leaders, managers, coworkers, and companies started to actually care about people, not just pay lip service.
Take Action: Caring in Business
Write down why you care about:
- Your Employees
- Your Customers
- Your Co-Workers
Define one thing that you can do today to show you care
- Your Employees
- Your Customers
- Your Co-Workers
Comment in the comments below what you are going to do to show you care in your business.