Love. It’s in the air, but in business, it’s like Voldemort— “he-who-must-not-be-named” of Harry Potter fame— and treated like something never to be mentioned. Why is that? Why, given that business is essentially a human-to-human endeavor, is love something we quickly run from and dismiss in any business conversation.
I remember once in a big meeting mentioning customer love and it got snickers and all kinds of inappropriate comments. But customer love is something every business should be working to cultivate. I mean, what could be better than having customers literally love your company, advocate for it, and be loyal to it?
How, though, do you create customer love?
Think back to those halcyon days of youth when you were dipping your toes in the pool of young love. How did it work? First, some chit chat, then the ask to go to a movie. You got to know each other and before you knew it, you were an item. You got on the phone to each other every night. You met in the hallway between classes. You were exclusively committed to each other.
Can that, or something like it, happen with customers? Of course. But it takes effort. It takes many of the same things you did in that young-love scenario.
First comes attraction. Your business must have something that customers want, and much like when you are dating, it must look good, smell good, do the right things, and make life better just because it is around.
Does your product or service do that? Does it present as something attractive? Does it show concern for how the recipient will feel getting it and using it?
Then comes the delicate matter of relationship building. Again, like dating, you must work to create a relationship. This involves honest, open communication and being there when you are needed. And it is not just a one-time thing, relationships must be nurtured. You must communicate regularly; you must be available in good times and bad. You must apologize when you are wrong and be humble when you are right. This is where so many companies fail. They do all the work to get that first “date” but completely blow it when it comes to keeping the fires burning over the longer term.
How does your organization do? Is it a one-night stand type of date or is it in it for the long run? Are you doing the work of maintaining something or is it buy-now-see-you-later?
Customer love. It may sound awkward, but it shouldn’t. We are all humans and humans need connection, not just to family or friends but to those we do business with. If your business shows concern for how you deliver things as much as concern for what you deliver, you are on the road to building customer love. In other words, if you demonstrate, in your products and service, that you care how people feel, customer love is in the air.
Go take a walk in your customers’ shoes. See how your organization stacks up. Are you demonstrating that you care about how people feel as much as about what you do? If not, get to work on being a better date. Get to work on being a company people want to love.
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