Does your business really want to help people?

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I recently saw an interview with Adam Lowry, who, along with Neil Renninger, founded Ripple Foods, the makers of Ripple plant-based milk.  In the interview, Fowler said they created their product because they wanted to help people.

This simple reason for existing might not seem like a big deal but it really stuck with me.  These two men started their business as a service to others.  They wanted to provide an alternative to dairy milk that was high in protein and low in sugar but still tasted good.  Now I have not tasted this product but I do believe in the purpose, a purpose that all businesses share but most don’t know or profess.

You see, all business is in the service business.  All businesses exist to help people, there’s really no other reason to exist, every business is trying to help people do something. Yet so many businesses don’t make this reality part of their message to the world.  We help people _____.  How much do you really hear that?

Why does this matter?  I think it matters because we customers suffer with mediocre service every day and it’s no wonder.  If you’re an employee, and the messages you regularly get are only about money, revenue, profit margins, beating competitors, etc., how do customers come into play?  What are you to think if your company has a Customer Service Department and you are instructed to direct customers to them because customer service is their job?   When this is your daily diet, customers just don’t factor in as the most necessary part of your job or the business.

Think about how many companies you interact with who regularly set self-interested policies that make things difficult or give you the runaround just to find someone to help you; they place so many other things as first priority.  And to make it worse, many companies never even get customer feedback and satisfaction data on the agenda of top management.  What!?!?!?!?!  Not one bit of this makes any sense when you consider, as I pointed out earlier, that helping customers is really the only reason for being in business in the first place.  If they really understood with head and heart that providing the easiest, friendliest help possible is really the best way to make the business successful, the customer experience would be a joy.  But, alas, the reality is unfortunately business first, customer second, third, or somewhere else in line.

What can we do to remedy this?  First, answer this question, what specifically does your company do to help your customers?  Second, start the conversation in your business and make sure everyone fully understands what the business of your business really is, helping people ____.  Third, become the supporter of your customer experience team; provide influence in whatever way you can to help them get the voice of customers into the C-Suite. Finally, make the voice of the customer part of every meeting you plan.  Make the customers’ voice the most important voice in the room.  Don’t make any decision without asking how it will impact customers.

Take a lesson from the guys at Ripple and get business back to the fundamental reason for existing – helping people.

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