The Simplest Way to Beat Your Competition

Tom Peters in his book Little BIG Things talks about caring and how critical it is to any organization searching for excellence. Its one of the things that Peters does so well: take an apparently small trait and argue successfully — with compelling evidence — that it is strategic, of the utmost importance to any business and is an essential element that any organization must have to succeed. Caring is a critical factor that will set any organization apart from their competition. This is a sad fact, really and is unfortunate proof that many organizations these days lack this very basic element of presenting a humane look to the markets they serve. Caring is a binary concept. Either you care or you don’t, and it shows every time you engage with a customer. As an organization, you don’t get loyalty points for exhibiting the caring most of the time. If your caring face doesn’t show up every time out, everyone rightly concludes that you’re not genuine in your intent. The aspiration to care really has no weight if it isn’t consistently backed up with caring moments orchestrated by employees 100% of the time.

An organization can’t care if they don’t have these in place.

Always on attitude

People always have a bad day, but caring must be active, notwithstanding. A bad day cannot be used as an excuse to not care for even one moment. “Oh well, they’re just having a bad day I guess” can never be used as an excuse for an employee’s non-caring behaviour.

Friendly rules

Rules, policies and procedures must accommodate a customer nor drive them wild. You can’t make the the caring claim and then put your customers through the policy pain mill time every they want to transact with you.

Knowledgeable people

If you choose caring as a strategy, your people must be competent and capable of answering a wide range of questions customers ask. Employees require a healthy balance of knowing their specialty as well as a general knowledge of the company and it’s strategy. Regular refresher training for your frontline should be a priority.

A clean environment

Appearance and cleanliness of your premises (including your website). When customers observe your place of business do they see a clean and tidy environment or do they see worn-out, old and tired? Is your web presence clean and easy to use or is it built by techies for techies?

Community support

Are you active in the community? Do you take your care claim to the not-for-profit sector? You can’t care on the inside and turn your back on your community responsibility.

Problem solving

Are your people problem solvers? Listening, asking questions and finding solutions scream that you care about your customer and the realities they face. The absence of a problem solving attitude tells the story that the organization exists to serve itself and no one else.

Customer friends lexicon

How do you refer to your customers? For example do you refer to your customers by words like transaction or call? If you do, you’re not well positioned on the caring scale.

Serving leaders

A leadership team comprised of individuals who ask “How can I help?” shows caring for employees. If you don’t care about your own people you will never be able to show honest affection to your paying customers. It’s quite ironic really. Every organization is seeking a complicated solution to the challenge of how to separate themselves from their competition and it is staring them in the face. All you need to do is give a damn… Related: 10 Barriers to Progress That Should Be Dumped