By Jeanne Bliss, Founder of CustomerBLISS
Beloved companies create an indelible bond with customers. They become a part of their lives. Their devoted customers grow their business for them; telling everyone they know on Twitter, Facebook, chat rooms and hundreds of websites every day that these companies are worthy of their business.
What is behind achieving beloved status? Two years of research led me to this: these companies earn the right to grow and prosper because of the anguish, thought and purpose that they put into decision making. The actions that come from their decisions set them apart. Beloved companies weave their humanity into every decision they make, connecting who they are as a people with the decisions they make in how they run their business. As a result, they earn not just loyal buyers, but passionate, vocal fans.
Five decisions comprise the backbone of how these companies conduct themselves in business. At a fork in the road when decisions are made, what informs and motivates their conduct is that they…
They Decide to believe
They Decide with clarity of purpose
They Decide to be real
They Decide to be there
These Decide to say sorry
These decisions create a seismic shift from mere business to beloved company.
Beloved Companies Decide to believe.
Beloved companies make the decision to believe, both in their customers and their employees. They suspend cynicism in their relationships, and as a result, they are freed from the extra rules, polices and layers of bureaucracy that create a barrier between them and their customers. The belief demonstrates a company’s trust in their customers. Beloved companies understand that most people strive to do the right thing, and they decide to believe that this is so for their customers and employees.
Decide with clarity of purpose.
Beloved companies take the time to be clear about their unique promise for their customer’s lives. Beloved companies realize that clarity of purpose guides choices and unites the organization. It elevates people’s work from merely executing tasks to delivering experiences that customers will want to repeat and share with others. Businesses across every industry prosper when they decide with clarity of purpose and spread that clarity across the entire organization.
Decide to be real.
Beloved companies break down barriers between customer and company, creating a relationship between people and revel in one another’s foibles, quirks and spirit. It draws them to one another. Their humanity and authenticity is what sets beloved companies apart from all the others. They allow room for people to blend their personal instincts with their business decisions.
Customers and employees gravitate to companies who decide to be real, who decide to drop the “corporate veneer” and to those that nurture the personality and spirit of their customers and employees.
Decide to be there.
Beloved companies devote more resources and more plain old work to be there for their customers. They’re in it every day to earn the right to a continued relationship with their customers, and the first decision they make is to be there when the customer needs them, on the customer’s terms.
Decide to say sorry.
Grace and wisdom guide beloved companies to accept accountability when the chips are down, when things don’t go the way they planned. How a company reacts to mistakes reflects the humanity of the organization and shows its true colors more than almost any situation that might arrive. It is the intent and motivation guide a decision’s final outcome that sets people – and companies – apart.
How you steer your decisions and the actions that tumble from them will impact your ability to earn the right to grow and prosper. You can earn your customers’ business by deciding how you will run yours. With every order you ship, with every person you hire, with every product you develop you have the chance to tell your customers who you are and what you value. So make a choice. Decide what you want your story to be in the marketplace. What do you want customers and employees to tell others about who you are and what you value.
The decision is yours.
About the Author
Jeanne Bliss is the founder of CustomerBLISS; a consulting and coaching company helping corporations connect their efforts to yield improved customer growth. She is a world-wide speaker on the subject. Jeanne spent twenty-five years at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Allstate, Coldwell Banker, and Mazda corporations as the leader for driving customer focus and customer growth. Her best-selling books are; Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action, and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions for Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. Go to www.customerbliss.com to get a reality check audit on your customer commitment and ability to make customers an asset of your business.