“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams
To stay authentic for a business would mean that it is consistent, reliable, and dependable – always doing what it says. A company that is able to display authenticity through every touch-point and every employee, will not only gain more customers, but will enhance its market reputation to the point of becoming a leader. Staying true and genuine is all about providing a top class experience to customers, not only while buying the product, but also while using it and beyond. A company / brand that can do this consistently will soon become one that customers love and trust, and would not leave it for another, irrespective of the price or products the other may offer.
Being able to stay authentic also means that a company does not try to sell at every opportunity it gets, but rather offers customers such engaging, exciting, and authentic experiences and service, that customers are drawn in. A company that strives to remain authentic will always appear bold, confident, inspirational, and trustworthy – something that would be very hard for anyone to compete with. Customers, we know, are now more demanding. The reason being that they are tech-savvy and know how to get the information they seek – making it very difficult for companies to fool them. They are quick to discern if companies are lying to them and are extremely unforgiving if they believe anything to the contrary.
To stay authentic for a business would mean that a company aligns its culture and the message of its brand with its customers and their needs. A truly genuine company would know that while the first connection with customers would be through advertising, the relationship would be strengthened only through a consistent experience throughout the ‘journey’ of the customer. An authentic company, truly interested in serving customers would ensure that its brand and business kept pace with and matched steps with the ever-changing and rapidly evolving needs of its customers. It would be a lot easier for a company to gain more customers by coupling personalized experiences and products for them, while keeping the essence and culture of the company intact. This would be one of the surest ways to become known as an authentic company true to itself and its values.
For a business, to stay authentic it would need to display the confidence in its abilities and should be able to take feedback – even if negative. To gain more customers, show them that your company respects and appreciates their opinion – ask them for feedback through whatever means possible. This is a great way to tell customers that they ‘control’ the brand and whatever goes into making the products and services successful – give them a sense of importance and being valued. In turn, customers begin to identify with a brand that takes their opinions and insights into consideration, and are willing to work towards its success. By involving customers in a large number of aspects that directly affect them, it would be easy to show customers that your company recognizes both their emotional and rational needs, and would take the necessary measures to ensure that they are met. This in turn makes a brand / business have greater relevance for customers, thereby attracting many more and ensuring that the existing ones remain and continue to provide business.
To stay authentic and gain more customers, your company’s values must define the way business is conducted – not just in the products, but also through customer service and the attitude of each person in the company. This creates a sense of oneness and belonging in the mind of customers since they would receive consistently great service and experiences, irrespective of the channel they use or the touch-point on which they connect. When customers perceive values and integrity at the core of your company, they would be more like to become dedicated and committed to it, which in turn would make your company more profitable and a force to reckon with over time. Irrespective of market conditions, your company’s ability to stay authentic will determine its success since customers prefer doing business with a trustworthy partner, employees work best with a company they can trust, and as your company’s reputation enhances, investors and other business ‘partners’ would draw closer, practically insuring long-term success for your business.
While every business would like to gain more customers at a fast pace, not all customers may be ‘right’ for a company. In order to stay authentic and true to values, it is imperative that a company ‘chooses’ its customers judiciously – that means customer getting in customers with similar values and a willingness to align with the culture of the company. Your company needs to protect its principles and work ethics if it wants to remain competitive by attracting more customers. While this may sound like a self-limiting strategy, it is not. All your company would need to do is have a strategy in mind for the kind of customers and target audience it would like to attract, based on the business principles and values. By segmenting prospective customers into groups, it would a lot easier for your company to ‘go after them’ with personalized messages and pertinent information.
To ensure that each customer profile would be a ‘perfect’ fit for your company, ensure that you choose several different types of profiles, depending on the product and or service of your company. Each profile must have a separate ‘identity’ – their pain areas, needs, expectations, preferences- should be different from the next group. This would make it easier for your company to identify solutions confidently and provide offerings that would suit their particular current needs. Undertaking this exercise will also help your company in providing consistency and continuity – extremely important to stay authentic and trustworthy. Any kind of inconsistency immediately leads to mistrust and suspicion, which are reasons for customer churn. It is important for any company to remember that customer trust is very hard to gain and once broken it is highly unlikely that it will ever be repaired completely. Hence, even if your company ‘tailors’ its messages to match the tone of a certain communication platform, the essence of the message should be consistent – that is, your company should be saying the same thing, thereby conveying a strong, trustworthy, authentic and dependable image.
There are a number of companies making all kinds of claims. However, in order to stay authentic and ensure that customers trust your company, it is important to always deliver on promises and commitments your company makes. Each person in the company must be a walking advertisement of the company’s promises, such that your company is able to provide a strong backing to whatever it says. It is easy to gain more customers this way, since people trust those who keep their word – a very vital aspect in the business world. For example – if your company claims to provide the best service possible, it would be essential to ensure that customers receive such service irrespective of whomever they connect with in the company, through any channel. If your company is strong on authenticity on the inside, each person would reflect that transparency and commitment, making your company the preferred partner for many customers. We all know that happy customers prove to be great brand ambassadors, spreading great things about a company and encouraging others to work with and stay with a company.
The mistake many companies make is in believing that they would be able to fool customers or cover up any inconsistencies and half-truths. The fact is that the customers of today can see through the guile and prefer companies that stay authentic and honest with them, even in times of duress. There is no replacement for authenticity, integrity, and trustworthiness in the world of business today – by staying true to its values, your company can not only gain more customers, but also become synonymous with how business should be conducted. A formidable reputation for sure – that every company needs.