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How not to care

A See-Through Strategy

The business world is very confused about something incredibly simple. Caring. Have you noticed how much “caring” everybody is doing these days?

“How can I provide you with excellent service today?” or “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.” Really?

You can’t connect with your customer when you put a script between you and them.

Actual caring is not a strategy — it’s a result. If you and your employees really care, you don’t need to talk about it. Your customers will go out of their way to tell you, and tell others about their experience, because real care is so tragically and delightfully rare. We all want to be in the know about a business like that.

Caring is unmistakable and memorable when real — but as a strategy it is forgettable at best and more often than not, offensive.

Actual caring is not a strategy — it’s a result. If you and your employees really care, you don’t need to talk about it. Your customers will go out of their way to tell you, and tell others about their experience, because real care is so tragically and delightfully rare. We all want to be in the know about a business like that.

Not Caring ImageYou know the shops and restaurants you rely on, the websites you go back to. Of course you break away now and again to try something new, but even if your favorite places make a mistake you go back. Why? Because you like the way it feels, because it means something to you to shop there. We all live this way, but ironically we don’t tend to run our own businesses that way. Mostly, small businesses desperately compete on price or features, and end up treating us only slightly better than United Airlines or AT&T.

We don’t go back to places that tell us how much they care, we go back to places where we felt they actually did. Care is emotional and leaves an impression.

So, how do you, as a business owner get to the place where caring is the norm, where you don’t have to plan it? Behind the scenes of a business that really cares about its customers you’ll find a leader who sets the whole thing in motion by caring about their employees. They’re not touchy feely nor do they overlook incompetence. They simply challenge their staff to be better today than they were yesterday because that’s the way they live. It’s a place where the leader leads, and shows up for their employees with high standards and equal kindness.

Their secret is the understanding that employees only really care when they decide that being better at their job is making them better in their life.

If you have to resort to caring as a strategy, it means you’re not in the right business or, far more likely in our experience, you just need help getting back to your passion for what you do.

Nothing matters more to your customers than the feeling that you care about them. You have to be it, not act it. That takes guts.

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.

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