By | Craig Middleton
It’s no secret that while some business principles will never change, others have been drastically transformed over the past few decades. Companies have rebranded not only their logos, but also the way they communicate with customers and interact with the world around them. Here are some areas for your business to focus on in order to adapt to your customers’ changing definition of a quality company.
Over the past few months, you’ve probably received an email or two from a company explaining the details behind their health and safety practices, or the way they’re using and collecting your data. While you probably didn’t specifically ask for this information, this is one of the ways companies are working to be more transparent with their customers. When they do this, they establish trust within their community, which makes consumers more likely to stick with the organization. In addition to emails, clothing companies have been incorporating features into their websites that show where their merchandise was made and the ethical practices they adhere to. Contractors are working to provide even more accurate estimates and billing by using resources like a daily report app to make sure they’re being as forthright as possible. Customers appreciate openness, so consider ways that your business could give your audience a behind-the-scenes look in your offices or manufacturing plants as well.
- Social Advocacy
Consumers, especially those from younger demographics, are wanting the companies they do business with to take a stand on the issues they care about. They don’t necessarily want them to post an opinion on every political talking point that is presented, but they want to see their favorite brands becoming an advocate for something. Whether it’s working to alleviate hunger in their communities, giving marginalized individuals a voice, or providing basic necessities to kids from low-income families, customers want to be a part of something good and important in their daily shopping habits. If you give them that opportunity and show them that your brand stands for something, you’re more likely to have a strong, successful relationship with your audience.
- Environmental Impact
In addition to caring about social issues, customers want businesses to not only be actively working to reduce their environmental impact, but also working to reverse it. Phone case companies are making biodegradable products from recycled materials, corporate offices are creating carbon-neutral buildings, and retail stores are working to reduce waste by minimizing packaging and offering incentives to cut down on plastic bag usage. Even if this means products are more expensive, more and more customers are deciding that the extra cost is worth it. Your consumers want to know that the purchases they’re making are having a positive impact on the climate, land and animals around them. If you want your business to be successful in this new era, you need to provide this opportunity for them.
Customers want to be able to relate with an organization, and they want to know that the organization knows who they are and what they want. Social media allows businesses to interact with clients on their home turf and gives consumers an avenue to reach companies to find information and help. Many of the most successful companies are actively engaged on their social media platforms, responding to comments and answering questions quickly. In addition, interacting with empathetic customer service agents and receiving personalized emails and offers (as long as they’ve given you permission to use their information to do that) helps consumers feel like they are valued by the company. Treating your customers as individual humans, and not just numbers with a certain amount of disposable income, is vital to earning their trust and having a strong relationship in the future. Set up your business for success by taking the time to learn who they are and looking for new ways to connect with them.
While running a successful company does require making a profit, there are new definitions of what a “good company” is to consumers. In order to earn their loyalty and keep your success, you’re going to need to meet these expectations. Treat them and the world you both live in with respect, and they’ll be much more willing to choose you over and over again.