In all of our businesses, we are committed to cultivating a culture of caring for our customers. But where does that culture come from? How do we get to the point where actively caring is so natural that it seems the obvious answer to throw in a pair of cozy socks when a customer orders some bedding or to tuck in a note of encouragement when a customer orders a motivational book? How does actively caring for our customers become the norm?
First, we need to seek out people with an inherent capacity to care. Filling our offices with people who naturally tend to be caretakers is a critical part of the equation. They’re easily identified in interviews because they often manage to find out an astonishing amount about the interviewer despite the circumstance being designed to discuss them. They also tend to make those around them feel comfortable and relaxed because their demeanor is warm and accepting. The carers of the world tend to have wide circles of equally special friends and acquaintances, so utilizing them as networks for new hires is a savvy move towards further filling the employee roster with people who will cultivate a culture as kind, warm, and giving as they are.
Next, we need to foster a culture of caring from the top down. It is not enough for those in management positions to care about the customers, they must also care about the employees of the company, who in turn serve the customers day in and day out. Taking time to notice successes, stepping in to help with struggles, bothering to know about everyone on a personal level and connecting to their lives, these are behaviors that create an environment where caring is the norm. An employee who can walk into an office knowing that it is filled with people watching out for her, wondering how her brother is getting along, stopping by with a nice snack or just a sincere compliment is catapulted into a space where opportunities to make other people feel happy abound and are expected to be utilized. As the saying goes, a rising tide carries all boats, and those in leadership are the proverbial tide.
Business, much like life, isn’t always made of rainbows and summer days, but the simple act of earnestly caring about the feelings and experiences of those around us, both within and outside of the office, is what people are truly seeking from their interactions with others. Our ability to take this from an intention to a reality is what can change our companies from entities people simply do business with to a solid corporate reputation of being a valued partner that our customers truly value. What acts of caring that are already taking place within your company do you want to highlight and augment? How do you plan to do so?