Heart-Based Approaches to Building a Better Business Working from the bottom of your heart will get you further than working from the bottom of your profit and loss statement.
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Odds are, you know how to think about your business in terms of operational efficiency, profitability margins, and strategic planning. You know the structure you need in place to service your clientele, the number of employees you need to accomplish the necessary tasks, and the operational budget to get everything done. All that knowledge and thinking with your head has gotten you far, but something is still missing.
Make an emotional connection with your clientele
Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman, says that 95 percent of our purchasing decisions happen subconsciously. We buy based on an inherent emotional response and then seek to justify that purchase using logic. This implies that practical considerations such as price, performance, and quality are second to customer experience. A heart-based model of customer focus would suggest that asking about customer needs and wants will make their experience a special, more memorable one.
According to HubSpot research, 68 percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer baseline good customer service experiences, and 93 percent of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. Based on this, it's clear than an emotional connection with a customer leads to a healthier bottom line.
Make an emotional connection with your employees
When we think about caring for our employees, we consider offering quality benefits, competitive wages, and a safe work environment. There is no question that these are important needs, yet these are the provisions of a reasonable workplace, which should not be confused with benefits servicing an employee's emotional needs.
Functional and tangible results such as more dedicated employees, better retention, a more positive work environment, and fewer sick days all stem from work environments where employees feel better taken care of by their employers. Employers can foster these feelings by offering their employees more meaningful work, allowing for more autonomy and responsibility, encouraging work-life balance, and celebrating individual achievements.
Commit to bettering the world
Companies often build their reputations based on the quality of service and quality of product, but we all know of companies who have somewhat less than par working environments or lack of commitment to ecological sustainability. These companies, no matter how good their product, will ultimately suffer from poor public opinion. Companies with a commitment to bettering the world often thrive, sometimes even based solely on that.
A company does not need to solve world hunger to contribute to a better world. It simply needs to commit to being impactful in a positive and relatable manner. Companies can accomplish this by supporting local causes, hiring or outsourcing locally, being environmentally responsible, practicing diversity and inclusion, and demonstrating a heart behind the corporate veil.
In a survey by Forbes.com, two-thirds of the employees who responded said they neglected to report workplace issues to human resources because they didn't think the issue would be fixed, while 49 percent have neglected to report issues for fear of retaliation. Obviously, this leads to high turnover of employees, long-term difficulties in training and productivity, and erosion of the bottom line.
Over the lifespan of most companies, there are significant peaks of prosperity and valleys of challenges. A company that embraces both periods, internally and externally, with the same level of integrity and clarity, shares its financial success with its employees, and owns up to its mistakes is a company that will have happier employees, warmer public reception, and more long-term employees who will trust the company to make the decisions that will help them to thrive.