Love is a Strategy
Jim Buchanan, Author, Winning Customer Love
Over the past 40 years I’ve worked in lots of different businesses, of all types and sizes, all around the world. I’ve held jobs on the shop floor, as a route salesman, as a mid-level supervisor and manager and in the C suite, including a couple of CEO roles. My jobs spanned the functions of Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Operations, Quality Control, Strategy and Planning, and General Management to name a few. I was a problem solver, someone to go in and figure out a problem and then fix it and move on. Some start-ups and turnarounds, as well as big and successful companies that are some of the top brands in the world today.
One thing I’ve learned from all of these experiences, from both great success and spectacular failure, is that having employees and customers who loved the business and brand always correlated with success. And, not having enough employees and customers who loved the business and brand, correlated with failure. Always. In fact, I believe that some of the greatest businesses and brands of all time, like Apple, Google, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Patagonia, Disney and Amazon to name a few, have been built on a strategy of love. Simply stated, every day they set about the task of doing great things for customers and for the employees who serve those customers. These companies give love, and they receive love and much more in return. So, how do they do it? I think they do it by focusing their strategy on the following five principles:
- They put a very high priority on beauty because they know that human beings are attracted to beautiful products, services, facilities, websites, everything.
- They are generous with their talent and resources. They make sure that customers always get a great value, typically at very high profit margins by the way, and employees always get a great combination of pay, benefits and support for work, life balance.
- They have deep empathy for customers before, during and after the sale. This enables them to create amazing new products that customers camp out to get and to deliver service that actually deepens customer loyalty, even as they fix mistakes they’ve made. This empathy carries forward to employees in the form of support for challenges at work, and at home. Employees at these companies feel like the company has their back.
- These businesses and brands are deeply grateful to customers for their consideration and for every purchase. They are grateful to their employees for their efforts and results.
- Finally, these businesses and brands have an everlasting commitment to improvement in these five principles as well as in every corner of their enterprise. They are never satisfied with today’s performance and know that they can, and will, always get better.
Businesses that focus everything on giving love through these five principles earn the love, and loyalty, of customers who always buy from them, give them rave reviews in social media, and recommend them to family, friends and neighbors. They also earn the love, and deep engagement, of employees who bring maximum effort and all of their talents to work each and every day. Finally, they win the love of shareholders for their stunning financial performance year after year.
If there is a more powerful business strategy out there, I would love to learn all about it.
About the Author
Leadership expert, Jim Buchanan is a big believer in hope, and even more so in faith. But, for businesses to be successful, tangible plans and actions are critical. Buchanan says that giving love to customers, and to the employees who serve customers every day, is in fact the most effective strategy. In his book, “Winning Customer Love,” Buchanan presents business principles based on the Universal Law of Attraction that help business leaders at all levels understand how to manage their employees through love, compassion and empathy.