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….)