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Authenticity pays

The old truth is that it is far easier and cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one, so providing what you promise is key to a successful business operation. If you want your customers to be happy, you have to strive to deliver the quality you promise to offer. If you are going to profess something, or start a slogan, or try and become something in your industry, you have to be authentic, committed to it, and true to it and yourself.

Authenticity goes beyond the products and services, and centers on how a company acts, the relationships it forms, basically it is a question of integrity and character. Many companies see their bottom line as the goal, but those who adhere to a strict policy of integrity and authenticity find that even when it seems like their bottom line might suffer, that authenticity really pays, especially in the long run, and when it comes to customer retention.

Here are a few looks at what it means to be authentic:

Willingness to take financial loss if it means integrity. Many companies find that they have made a production error, or labeling error, and in some cases it is likely to be something no one that doesn't work there will ever notice. Doing a recall will cost a company thousands of dollars, but being authentic means being willing to take a financial loss if that is what it takes to be honest with your customers. Customers respect that, and respond to it. You may take a financial loss in one instance, but if someone finds that you have gone above and beyond to insure they get the product or service they were promised, they will trust the company in the future.

Commitment to environmentally friendly products and manufacturing. One of the best ways to show authenticity is to get behind a cause, such as being environmentally friendly. Then really doing it, changing manufacturing procedures, or product ingredients to better serve the environment. If that is not your cause, pick something that is. It can be "Saving families money" or "Preparing a brighter future." Or whatever you want it to be. The point is, if you choose to profess this, you have to really mean it and do it. If you get caught short cutting, it is not going to be easy on your company; but if you can show you are really true, and authentic in your desire to do that thing, you will gain customers and loyalty as a result.

Caring more about the customers, and having profits be secondary. You are in business, so profits do matter, and it is okay to make choices based on profits, but it is important to remember that you won't have profits without customers, and customers matter more. Companies that put customers first, and profits second, usually find profits take care of themselves.

Be authentic, care about your customers, and uphold integrity, and you will have customers to show for it.

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