A few months ago, I was talking with a CEO about the company’s strategy. As we got further along, I shared these words: “It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is. Unless you have people who take it into the world in a way that is kind and serves your clients well, all you have is just another product.”

My heart clutches every time I walk down a street and see a storefront, once bustling with people, with an “Out of Business”  sign in the window.  Competition is everywhere and app based companies are  grabbing market share to beat the band. The rules have changed. Unlike brick and mortar companies, whose demise may take years, app based companies can have their world rocked in a matter of hours, with enough people simply swiping a screen. Think about the mass exodus from Uber and the impact that had on the company and their drivers.  Oh and, the big corporate giants aren’t necessarily dominating the market any longer. Tiny companies fueled by big passion and ignited, well cared for employees can disrupt business and take down those giants in a single quarter. Enter caring.

The power caring has on business is underestimated and often, totally overlooked. They get stuck in the mindless motions of spreadsheets and forecasts and they become disconnected from the human beings doing business. This is especially true when a company experiences rapid success because they were the first to market, or because they were the most efficient. The luster of success based on those factors will eventually fade because it’s just a matter of time before the nest shiny thing (competition) enters the market. 

For long term growth and success, companies have to care about their people. They have to care about what they do and the people they serve. The way people feel when they do business with a company is really what creates loyalty.  Their experience they have is the thing that guides their next decision to buy or to bail. The best online companies have gotten super hip to this notion. They’ve become masters of the experience. They’ve figured out how to convey the feeling of caring to customers through the code they write and the words they use, without ever making live, human contact. Consider things like:

Kind phrases such as “Hello gorgeous” that greet you when you first enter a site.

Jokes that make you laugh while you wait on hold. 

Pretty imagery and ad campaigns that make us feel warm, fuzzy, cared for. 

Friendly little notes to our inboxes

Packaging like makes whatever you order feel like a gift

Personalized letters in that pretty package

Follow up notes to say thank you

The important thing to remember is this. The code isn’t magic. The people are. They’re the ones behind the caring. The message that caring is an important part of business is coming from someone, somewhere. For a company to win, they have to care about their people. They have to choose leaders who are empathetic, who value caring and who understand the critical role it plays in igniting people to do amazing business. 

Efficiency and being first will only get us companies far because the truth is, people still want to feel something special when they do business with someone or when they choose to give their business to a company. Human experience still rules the roost. Even in a market where apps rule supreme, it still holds true that the companies who care the most will be the ones that win.