I don’t know about you but I often find myself claiming “It is just who I am”, with the utmost confidence. I do this without even realising that what I believe I stand for is sometimes completely counter to what my behaviour alludes to. This is something which I have been trying to remedy for a while and yet, have had limited success (so far). A business is no different in this respect. Much like me, a company has a personality (I do have one, or so I have been told) and people relate to your brand through this collective identity. They see what values you hold, much like you do with people, then say “Yes, I like this” or “No, I really don’t understand where they are coming from.” When what you do, doesn’t chime right with what you say, much like a person, you look untrustworthy; a situation that may turn away any potential customers as that trust you may have built beforehand is diminished through this act of inconsistency.
The only true way – as an individual or an organisation – to avoid this often destructive path, is to always be aware of who you are and what you do; allowing you to always understand how you are perceived by any potential customers out there. That is, it gives you a level of critical observation to help maintain continuity in how you act.
So, you may say you are customer service driven and turn around at the first sign of a complaint and blame the customer. Or you may say you are professional and sometimes act in a manner that contradicts this. It is at these points that you need to be aware of your actions. These experiences are common and unavoidable (everybody does it at some point), however with an awareness of exactly how you are acting, you can offer apologies or take responsibility where needed to keep consistency around your brand; sorry may be the hardest word but it can certainly go a long way.
This seems like a very intuitive thing to do. However, there are very few companies who are good at it. It takes a level of confidence to admit to yourself you are not who you think you are or that you have made a mistake. With a little awareness you can take responsibility, be open and recognise where you need to improve.
Overall, it is keeping a consistency between your values and the way you actually do things that will give the right signals to your customers that you are who you say you are. You may never be perfect in this area but hey, who’s perfect? Though, without awareness of exactly how you are acting you may find yourself facing more obstacles than opportunities in the future.