We’d like to think that customers buy our products because they’re so impressed with its features and functions. The problem is that this totally ignores other factors in the purchase decision.

The truth is that there are a lot of other elements, many of which can work in your favor if you just communicate differently.

When was the last time you vowed that “I’ll never work with that company again” after getting burned? Or when you’re looking for products, you think, “Hmm, I don’t think I’ll look at things from that company”?

It’s very common, and you as the customer have the full right to make your decisions however you want. Sure, you may not get the least expensive product, but that’s a tradeoff you’re willing to accept.

What’s going on here is that you have a disconnect of values. It happens all the time!

  • The food at the restaurant was great, but you didn’t care for the server who was a bit rude.
  • The salesperson at the car dealer didn’t treat you with respect.
  • You got sick of the amount of time you wasted trying to get a problem resolved with your cable.

You might think that I’m just talking about poor customer service, but it actually goes much deeper than that. Customer service is just a reflection of the values held by the company and the people you interacted with.

Here are some deeper conflicts of values:

  • You’ve decided you’re going to focus your investments in areas which support environmental health and societal healing.
  • You choose to spend extra at Whole Foods, Patagonia, and TOMS Shoes because you “want to support the good guys.”
  • You’ve avoided particular companies because of trouble they’ve gotten into with the government regulators.
  • You’ve participated in a boycott of a company because it holds a political stance you disagree with.

We can see that we’re now talking about things that have nothing at all to do with the company’s products. It’s about who the company is at its core, how they behave, and whether your personal values are in conflict.

So how can this work in your favor as a supplier of products and services?

It’s about being transparent and authentic. Yes, some people won’t like who you really are. But guess what? That would be a short term win – at best. More likely those are the customers who give you nothing but grief and anxiety.

Instead, you’re attracting those customers who love you BECAUSE of who you are, not in spite of it. These are the people who will turn into customers-for-life, and become your champions to bring in other customers. They’ll cut you some slack when you make a mistake or want to charge a little more.

Yes, you have to be a bit vulnerable. But it’s a powerful message, and in an age of information transparency, customers are seeking this out.

This article was first published in InnovatioNews.