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Picture going to an auto repair shop for something minor, like getting new windshield wipers or changing your oil. While the mechanic gets the job done, he provides you with tips on how to keep your car in optimal condition, then finishes working, sends you off with a “have a good day,” and turns to work on the next car. You drive away feeling good about the exchange and go on your merry way.

Now, picture going to a repair shop for an oil change and having the service guy tell you that you also need to replace five different auto parts that will set you back a couple grand. “but I just wanted an oil change,” you say, dejected. The employee goes on and on about how making the changes will safeguard your car from further damage. You get the feeling this person is just trying to squeeze a quick buck out of you, while you struggle to do whatever you can to just pay for the oil change and leave.

Here’s a question: Which repair shop will you return to in the future?

As a business, you can make a person feel like you added value to their day, or you can make them feel like they are a means to your end. There are several reasons why it’s so important that your business fall in the former category:

1. Treating people respectfully will boost your reputation

The way you approach business is as important as the actual service you provide. And in this age when information spreads quicker than wildfire, your reputation is a solid extension of your personal brand.

2. Treating clients with compassion will motivate them to return to you

The Golden Rule — “Do unto others…” you know the rest — is not something you leave behind with childhood. If you treat clients the way you would want to be treated, they will keep coming back. Client loyalty is a priceless asset that will help sustain your business through the years, so you should do everything in your power to foster it through every touchpoint in your business.

3. Connecting deeply will make your constructive criticism/feedback sound genuine

When a client realizes that you do what you do in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both parties and that you’re not just blowing smoke their way just to make a sale, they will listen to what you have to say… Even if it may be something they don’t want to hear at the moment.

The fact of the matter is, the more you treat people with dignity, the more you gain “permission” to dish hard truths when needed, at the same time reducing the possibility that they may get offended. In fact, with their guard down they might even be thankful.

4. It will make you stand out from your competition

Often when trying to maximize profits, it’s easy to forget that clients and even potential clients are three-dimensional beings with a varied set of circumstances  — a complex texture of needs, desires, and wishes — that brought them to you. But when you take into account the human aspect of a business transaction, it’s easier to connect with clients and provide a customized service that will make them remember you among the long list of businesses that can provide the same service you do.

To somewhat quote Maya Angelou, people will forget what you said and they’ll forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Don’t be an ambulance-chaser. Making people feel appreciated will take your brand a lot further. The feeling of having received respect is a simple way to offer bonus value, without having to give away your services beyond the agreed scope, nor gifting any of your costly resources.

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