How to ‘B’ the best for your clients
and inadvertently become a Best for the World Honouree in the B Corp Customers category.
When it comes to the B Impact assessment Customers category a lot goes into the analysis of a B Corp and their relationship with their customers; How the company delivers strong customer guarantees, the types of customers served, the beneficiaries of the customers work if they are another business (or non profit in REAL’s case) plus a lot more. REAL is in a pretty good position given that all our customers are either non profit organisations or B Corporations themselves so we’re going to focus on what being a B Corp and delivering our high values does for our customers.
Embed your values deep and make sure they course through the veins of every employee
Your values must be authentic to your organisation and to encourage long term partnerships with customers they must be consistent with those of your customers. That is stage one, stage two is then to ensure your values are embedded into the DNA of your organisation and are consistent in every interaction.
REAL hires on values, we have translated these values of Respect, Ethics, Activism & Love into key, quantifiable criteria that people can be assessed on. If an individual doesn’t meet the REAL Values then they are not going to be a member of the team and will not represent our charity clients (customers), regardless of how productive they may be at the job.
The last line is key. Whatever behaviour your organisation rewards the most in terms of recognition is the behaviour that will for certain become the accepted norm. People strive to emulate whoever is being recognised most in companies. If for example you say you are a company that puts your ethical staff behaviour as a priority above everything else but then reward financially and with recognition your most productive staff member even if they display behaviours inconsistent with your prescribed values then these values are considered hollow, your workplace culture will suffer and your customers will ultimately bear the brunt of this with an inferior end product. You must have the confidence to reward the right values being put into action above everything else. It pays off.
If you wouldn’t say it to a customer then you should never say it.
Some businesses can be accused of saying one thing in the boardroom and another to their customers, more specifically in fundraising it’s often what fundraisers say to donors is the problem and way off message with what they say to clients. Many of us I’m sure have experienced the frustration of one message being conveyed in senior meetings or ‘on the shop floor’ and a totally different one to clients/customers. This lack of authenticity is ultimately harmful to workplace culture and the credibility of companies and their brand and more importantly extremely damaging to the customer who is putting their trust in the supplier.
REAL offers all out client customers complete transparency, in fact we invite them on to our company comms platform (Slack) and give them full insight into our messaging, employee communications, training, values and overall company culture. The concern that many agencies may have that this transparant stance could back fire if someone said something innappropriate in front of the client. Whereas the concern should be that they are saying something innappropriate not the place in which they are saying it. It would show a position of poor company culture if this were the case.
Now, not every business can invite all their customers on to their internal company comms platform but they can adopt the mentality of “If we would not do this with the customer watching then we don’t do this at all.”
Good company culture is truly demonstrated when employees make ethical decisions when no one is watching.
Every employee should think like the customer.
If your employees are approaching their role with the mindset of being a customer then they are best placed to deliver a truly excellent customer experience. In REAL’s case we provide charity ambassadors to our customers who are the face and voice of the charity with prospective donors. When a donor meets one of our employees, the employee needs to embody the charity client (our customer) to deliver a truly inspiring experience to the donor who’s supporting said charity.
Supporting underserved communities — Going the extra mile for your customers in the most need.
In addition to transparency and great company culture, putting the customer front and centre of every decision at the business, the B Impact assessment gives additional focus on companies that are able to help underserved or in need communities with their products.
Can you offer your product free of charge or at a reduced price to those who are in the most need? Do you offer products to communities in need? Measuring the impact that your products have for the aforementioned communities deomstrates commitment to serving customers in need and your businesses impact.