Corporate social responsibility

We’ve been discussing Organizational Sustainability over the last few blog installments. So far we’ve briefly covered Financial Sustainability and Environmental Sustainability. This time I’d like to take a brief look at the third leg of the sustainability stool: corporate social responsibility. Fancy term for something pretty simple in my opinion.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) relates to how your business interacts with your consumers and with other businesses. Essentially it comes down to values, integrity, and ethics. The automotive service industry should pay special attention to this area. Not because of a lack of values, integrity and ethics, but because of the reputation created by those that have preceded us. The automotive service industry must, in my opinion, constantly strive to overcome a negative reputation amongst customers.

What does CSR look like in your organization? I equate it to what you do to support your local community. This could be community service events that you hold twice each year, organizations which you support either financially or in terms of volunteer time, or holiday food or gift drives that you participate in. It also might be in the way you present estimates to customers – with full transparency. Or it could be as subtle as subscribing to a Business Code of Ethics put forth by a member organization you belong to.

What benefit does practicing CSR provide your organization? The biggest benefit is that customers see you as someone like themselves. They see you as someone who cares. They may view you as an organization that is trying to make a difference in the world. This brings them closer to you, with higher levels of trust because they see you as one of the “good guys”. That trust results in more customer referrals, higher ARO, and a stronger, more supportive customer base.

CSR relates to the Values Based Commitment that was introduced in the Committing to Your Customer VILT program. It goes to show that “doing the right thing” can result in stronger customer relationships, less expensive marketing efforts, and increased revenues. You can get started by posting your business ethics both in your waiting room and on your website. Take it a step further and put two community service events on the calendar this year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Further build your CSR by getting involved in community organizations and donate your employee’s time once each month.

Consider what you can do to show the world that you care!

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