4 Ways To Infuse Humanity Into Your Company’s DNA

Too often, customers get the bare minimum when it comes to service. This generally isn’t out of malicious intent; customers, rather, tend to get lost in the shuffle of innovation, growth and restructuring.

People often think that catering to your customers on a personal level, beyond what is considered “typical” or adequate, can be detrimental to your business, but that doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, one of the best ways to guarantee continued success is to treat your key stakeholders like actual people, rather than numbers.

For example, when starting JetBlue, my brother, David Neeleman, set out to make a more customer-friendly airline and to bring a little humanity to an often harsh and unyielding industry. To do this, he introduced initiatives like giving each customer the comfort of leather seats and free satellite TV and providing passengers with help stowing their luggage.

Not only did these human touches improve the customer experience and strength brand loyalty, but they also made the company more efficient. Everybody wins.

In 2002, I founded my company HealthEquity with a small startup team and a $2 million initial investment from friends and family (including my brother, who invested under the condition that my company, like JetBlue, would strive to bring humanity to its industry, consumer healthcare financing).

It was with this mindset that I started a health savings company, fueled by the fundamental belief that the key to building a successful organization is to gain passionate customers and employees and to bring the personal elements to the forefront (ahead of the transactional ones).

Organizations in every industry can benefit from infusing humanity — with a purpose —- into their business. Here’s my advice for how you can achieve this.

1. Treat your customers like they’re family


4 Ways To Infuse Humanity Into Your Company's DNA

You want customers to be passionate about your brand because they’ll end up being your most profitable customers. The tips for creating passionate customers cited in Alec Appelbaum’s 2001 article “The Constant Customer” still ring true today. They’ve helped guide my company as we continue to grow. First, you need to create products that are as flawless as possible. Second, you should train employees to act as ambassadors of your brand and third, you need to transform problems into opportunities to please customers.

Overall, you always need to remember to treat your customers like family — by actually doing, and not just providing lip service.

For example, right after 9/11, all of the New York airports were shut down. In reaction to this, JetBlue went out and rented ballrooms and put up cots to give people a place to gather, rest and recover. Other airlines sent their customers to JetBlue because they knew JetBlue would take care of them.

2. Treat your team members even better

Even more important than treating your customers well is treating your employees with the same respect and kindness.
At the end of the day, they are the ones who keep the lights on and do all of the work. If you create a team of passionate brand ambassadors, you’ll not only attract and retain great customers but also promote great employment referrals.

Your frontline employees are the tip of the spear when it comes to turning your customers into brand loyalists.

Look to offer programs that show you care about your employees and their personal development, not just their employment development. For example, BambooHRencourages and pays for its staff to take Financial Peace University, a class where employees learn how to manage money. Here at HealthEquity, we’ve implemented a “Helping Hands” program that encourages in-need individuals within the organization to anonymously ask for help from their coworkers.

3. Emulate what other great service companies do well


4 Ways To Infuse Humanity Into Your Company's DNA

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in every aspect of your business. Obviously, you need to customize to your customers’ and partners’ needs, but many companies are already doing great work. Look at companies you admire (Zappos, Nordstrom, Amazon, etc.) and see if some of what they do can work for your business.

American Express is one company that taught us early on about the importance of being available 24/7. When we lost a credit card, we were able to reach them immediately. American Express told us not to worry about anything — including any fraudulent charges. They sent us a package the next day with our card in it. This taught us the importance of service recovery and how it can directly contribute to a company’s growth, like it did with American Express.

4. Empower consumers to make better choices

When it comes time to make better choices, you should meet customers where they are and support them. Instead of merely giving them options and trying to sell them on what’s best for the business, empower customers with a plan that has them in mind — and makes them better consumers.

While it may seem daunting to make large changes, you’ll likely find the answers you need by asking yourself: What is great for the consumer? What if my loved ones were experiencing this? Is my solution good enough for the people I care about? If what you’ve come up with isn’t up to snuff, you need to go back to the drawing board. If it is, then you may well be on your way to improving not only your customer’s experience, but also your business.

Source: mashable.com