Want me as your customer? Show me love.

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Lyn Hunsaker and a particular song got me thinking

I read this opening line – “”How did we make you feel? That’s what really matters.”- from Lyn Hunsaker’s post and a little later the radio played one of my favourite songs. And that is the genesis of this post.

Every customer encounter presents you with a choice: ‘I-It’ or ‘I-Thou’



Every time you encounter a customer in business you are faced with a choice. You can treat that customer as on object that has to be handled/manipulated to fit in with your agenda. In this case you are treating the customer as an object; in Martin Buber’s terms you are engaged in a ‘I-It’ relationship. Many companies do that because too many people forget that customers are human beings.

It just so happens that if you want to build enduring relationships with customers you have to be willing to drop the ‘I-It’ relationship and move to the ‘I-Thou’ relationship. Fundamentally, this means treating your customer as a fellow human being and as such treating the customer as you would like to be treated if you were in her shoes. Why is this necessary?

Have you noticed how ‘love’ is so much a part of the human landscape? How many of us strive for it in our personal lives? How many books and poems have been written about ‘love’? How many people have decided to end their lives due to the lack of ‘love’? And then you have the songs – many about love. So how is it that ‘love’ is missing from the business landscape. I can only think of one book that deals well with love: “Love is the Killer App”

Now I can write a learned article in the acceptable business narrative and appeal to your left brain. Or I can share the lyrcis of the following song (“Show Me Love”) and appeal to your right brain. I prefer the latter as I want to talk to you as a human being rather than an engineer, an accountant or an economist. Incidentally, listening to the song is even better than reading the lyrics – so if you get a chance listen to the song.

An insight into the human condition through the lyrics of a pop song

“Ahhh… Yeah yeah
You’ve got to show me love

Heartbreaks and promises, I’ve had more than my share
I’m tired of giving my love and getting nowhere, nowhere
What I need is somebody who really cares
I really need a lover, a lover who wants to be there
It’s been so long since I touched a wanting hand
I can’t put my love on the line, that I hope you’ll understand

So baby if you want me
You’ve got to show me love
Words are so easy to say, oh ah yeah
You’ve got to show me love

I’m tired of getting caught up in those one night affairs
What I really need is somebody who will always be there
Don’t you promise me the world, all that I’ve already heard
This time around for me baby, actions speak louder than words

So if you’re looking for devotion, talk to me
Come with your heart in your hands
Because me love is guaranteed



So baby if you want me
You’ve got to show me love
Words are so easy to say, oh ah yeah
You’ve got to show me love

Show me, show me baby
Show me, show me baby
Show me, show me baby
Show me, show me baby

Heartbreaks and promises, I’ve had more than my share
I’m tired of giving my love and getting nowhere, nowhere
What I really need is somebody who will always be there
This time around for me baby, actions speak louder than words

If you’re looking for devotion, talk to me
Come with your heart in your hands
Because me love is guaranteed

So baby if you want me
You’ve got to show me love
Words are so easy to say, oh ah yeah
You’ve got to show me love

There’s nothing that you can tell me
You’ve got to show me love
There’s only one key to my heart
You’ve got to show me love

Show me, show me baby
You’ve got to give it to me, give it to me, give it to me yeah
I don’t want no fakes, don’t want no phoney
I need you love
Show me, show me, show me baby
Give it to me, give it to me
I am not a toy, I’m not a play thang
You’ve got to understand

If you’re looking for devotion, talk to me
Come with your heart in your hands
Because me love is guaranteed
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah”

Does this strike you as idealistic?

If showing customers love strikes you as being idealistic then that is because it is idealistic. That does not mean that it does not work. I know of a young man who started a car business 8 years ago with £4,000 pounds that I gave him and who, today, continues to expand his business with a loyal customer base whilst many of his competitors have gone out of business. His secret: he shows his customers love. The details I will leave for a later post.



PS: I thank each and every one of you for reading the stuff that I write. Through your reading and commenting you leave me feeling loved! And that in turn gives me the motivational food I need to continue writing in my voice.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Maz, you have provided an interesting perspective on how to build strong customer relationships. I agree that developing customer "love” is something that must be earned by a business. To do that, businesses must articulate care and understanding, and create a two-way dialogue with their customers to better understand their motivations and needs. It is critical that a customer doesn't just assume or hope a brand is there for them; they need to be told and shown how important they are and how much they are cared for.

    Advances in communications technology, such as voicemail, Facebook, text messaging and email mean that customers are accessible almost anywhere. Connecting and engaging them with timely, relevant and impactful touch points — at just the right time — is a powerful channel for communicating customer love.

    There is a fast growing communications category called Engagement Communications that leverages these advances and combines them with a human touch. Engagement Communications involves tailored and personalized campaign-based outreach to customers; outreach which motivates them to tak action.

    The technology allows businesses to send personalized text messages reminding a patient to take their medicine, or to wish them happy birthday, or to remind a customer to pay a bill before they incur extra charges. These are all small acts of caring, but they maintain regular and meaningful contact that add up to customer love and brand loyalty.

    Thank you for the post.

    Scott Zimmerman, President of http://www.televox.com

  2. Hello Scott, I thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this piece. I am pleased that you found my perspective to be interesting – that was my intention, to provoke a fresh way of thinking.

    I am in agreement with you as regards the wonders of technology and what it can enable us to do for our customers. However, my experience is that technology is being used in a selfish manner. Put bluntly, technology is too often used to serve the interests of the company. Sometimes to get the customer to do the work of employees thus saving costs. Or to better arm the marketing and sales folks to do a better job of persuading the customer to bend to the organisations needs and priorities.

    What is really missing is any actual caring for the customer. Why? Because too many see customers simply as wallets. And behind all the customer talk is simply the desire to get as much of that wallet as possible. I was at a conference where a senior member of a large membership organisation said that their best customers are the ones that have died and left a large sum of money to this organisation in their wills. I admire her honesty; many business folks behave this way they just do not have that level of honest insight and do not share it.

    By Love I simply mean stepping out of the circle of concern/interest called ME to the circle of concern/interest called YOU. And then taking it from there. Put differently, earn loyalty through genuine ‘service’ – that contributes to a better world for your customer.

    One of my favourite sayings is simply this: “when you are coming from love, you do not have to go looking for it”.

    To conclude, I thank you for entering into this conversation with me. You have contributed to me, I hope that I have contributed to you.

    All the best
    Maz

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