What Happens When Your Customers Love You

What Happens When Your Customers Love You

If you have a favorite coffee shop or restaurant that you frequent often, you know what great customer service looks like. And that kind of service has never been more important. People have lots of choices these days. I can get coffee or lunch in a hundred places. I can avoid the retail stores entirely and just buy online.

As a customer, I can do whatever I want with my money on a daily basis.

But I keep going back to my favorites. And, I do it without thinking about the alternatives even once. That’s loyalty with a capital ‘L’ isn’t it?

Every company who deals with customers at least pays lip service to wanting this kind of love affair with their clients. Unfortunately, very few win the hearts of their customers like this, but you know it when you see it.

Let’s talk for a minute about what happens when loyalty turns to love.

First of all, customers who love you will always be back. I fly Southwest Airlines every time they are going to my chosen city. Every time. I have been in love with their brand for years and they know it. We have fun! I feel safe and sound on their airplanes. It’s obvious from the moment you begin the bag checking process that these people have one thing in mind when they come to work every day: to make their customers adore them. This isn’t a transaction to Southwest. This is a relationship. Relationships have to be maintained. You have to listen carefully to hear what’s really being said. You have to go the extra mile and maybe another one to elate your customers so that an amazing thing happens over time. They become monogamous! You don’t have to spend a penny on advertising to get their business. You have it. You earned it. Period.

Secondly, these people who love you will tolerate mistakes in a way that someone who only likes you will not. You’re human. You will screw up sometime. No doubt about it. Bags will get lost. A waiter will get your order wrong because they are having a miserable day and are distracted enough to mis-write one thing or another. But love is patient. There’s an element of trust in the relationship that makes you know that, whatever happened, these people are going to bust their tails to fix it. They always have and they always will. No need to get aggravated and walk out. Love doesn’t work like that. People who love you stay and are fiercely loyal; to your brand and your products.

Lastly, people who love you just have to talk about you. Have you ever been madly in love? Wasn’t it difficult not to somehow shoehorn your new love interest into every conversation? Well, customers who are in a deep relationship with your brand will do the same. I have read that unhappy customers tell ten people on average about their experience, but happy customers only tell four. I don’t believe that. I don’t have a huge sample size to draw a conclusion from, but I can tell you unequivocally that when I fall in love with a brand I talk about it a lot to anyone who will listen. If somebody is looking for a great restaurant I will just happen to know one and with great joy recommend it unequivocally. If somebody had a bad experience on a flight and they tell me about it, I can’t help but tell them about the company that has my heart.

So, what is all of this worth? It sounds really nice to talk about these kinds of relationships, but what’s the bottom line?

Millions. Probably even billions.

Money pours into these kinds of organizations and all it takes to make that happen is finding the right people and training them to do world class work every day with me and you front and center in their minds all day long. Teach them about the singular mission you have and make them believe how important it is and how it changes the world when it’s done right.

When you do, a miracle happens, a mysterious and wonderful transformation that’s good for your organization and every single person you touch every day with your work.

Forbes.com Contributor

It is a true privilege to be a columnist at Forbes. Forbes is a community of talented people with deep knowledge in their genre.

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