We all enjoy being around people who care about — and for — us. Wheter it’s family, friends or organizations looking out for our wellbeing. The same goes for businesses and their customers. The era of wow’ing consumers with just the product and its promise seem long gone. Besides, there is so much automation and information nowadays that consumers will find what they need, where they need it, whenever they need it…but without needing any help. The more organizations automate their contact with customers, the further they drift away from eachother. Do you want to build a long term foundation with your customers and have them coming to you rather than the other way around? Then you better TRULY start caring about them as humans.
When I stopped to care, so did the customers
I’m not just throwing terms around here. Back in 2016 I was working as a Growth Hacker, looking at (sales) processes and finding ways to optimize them. I had tools, knowledge and budgets to try and understand consumer behaviour (notice how I’m saying consumer, not human) and find ways to make people buy more. That didn’t come from caring about the needs of the customers, but purely from caring about our & my client’s financial gain. The short term effect? Often a spike in direct sales. The long term effect? Losing clients to competitors — not because they had better products or fancier websites — but because we created interchangeable environments. Everybody was using the same tools, same technology, to sell the same products and services at the same price. We had stopped creating a true difference, one that is created through personalized service and human-to-human interactions.
Tools are fine, but use them wisely
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use tools to conduct business. I AM saying to use them wisely and for what they are: means to an end. I was so caught up in collecting data and measuring and tweaking that I forgot I was dealing with humans. Actual human beings with emotions, needs and — the thing that makes us the species we are — a need to belong (in a group). I didn’t use the tools to get closer to them and to understand their personal needs, I used tools to understand their behaviour, put them on a giant pile and use their information for financial gain.
So, that said, I think tools should be used to support people in getting closer to people buying services and products. What we shouldn’t do is thinking that tools are what will win over customers and help businesses grow, because that’s not what they do. But what does?
And I don’t mean that in a sense of a marketing tool or a sales strategy. I mean actually, truly, genuinly caring about the needs, wishes and desires of the customers —no, the people — who you want buying what you have on offer. If we stop caring about being the first to use a tool or saving pennies on customer contact and service and start caring about the people behind the data we call “user insights”, we will grow in the long term.
The reason for that is simple and as I stated in the opening of this post: we love it when people care for us. We trust them, we feel like we belong and we want to be around those who actually care about us. We — as humans — hate it when others act as if they care, just to get us to trust them only for them to gain something and leave us hanging. I assume you care about every single customer you have, because they are what keeps your business alive. So if we (I’m including myself) keep caring for what clients want rather than how to quickly gain a few buck, I’m absolutely positive it will lead to more customer happiness and that…..leads to true growth.