It’s really a simple idea. You need to love your customers. No, I don’t mean love their money. I don’t mean love that they send their friends to your business.
I mean love them. As people. Collectively as in "I love our clients" and individually as in "I love Lana."
If you don’t love them, you owe it to them to fire them. Because you will never be extraordinary. And every customer deserves that.
Sure, they buy your brain and knowledge. And they buy your end product. Those are the givens. But the "I’ll care as much about your business as you do" is not on the price list. It’s not for sale. You either give it to them freely or you can’t because you don’t feel it. And if you give it, you give it from love.
At the Conversation Agent blog, Valeria Maltoni talks about inspiring love rather than trust or loyalty, in terms of your product. I couldn’t agree more. And the way to get them to love you…is to love them first.
Steve Farber’s brilliant book Radical Leap is all about infusing love into your work.
I’m not sure why the word love is so taboo in business but it needs to stop. It’s a big part of why Kohl’s looks like a dump, why Wal-Mart employees were taking out TV ads against their employer, why Enrons happen, and why the people at the drive-thru could care less if you actually get what you order.
As consumers, we’ve not demanded love. We’ve accepted sullen. We’ve pardoned rude. We’ve tolerated mediocrity. As business people, we’ve offered acceptable. We’ve delivered good enough. And we’ve billed our clients for better than average.
I think it’s time for us to try a little love. Don’t you? (Part two coming….)
Photo courtesy of flickr and photographer Aaron Walsh.
Thanks for the mention, Drew. By the way, you’ll be happy to hear that I rarely, if ever, get any pushback on the use of “love” in my speeches. Business people do get it, and they appreciate being given “permission” to feel love at work and to call it what it is.
I am thrilled to hear that more and more business people are recognizing that to try to leave part of ourselves at the office front door is artificial and ultimately, will fail.
But…I also would credit your presentation for some of that. They may walk about being comfortable about feeling and sharing love at work. However, I suspect that they didn’t all walk in with that attitude.