About the Book
Do your customers love you? (Not just like you, but love you and are vocal and passionate about it?) According to author Jeanne Bliss, they will if you follow five guiding principles. In her book, “I Love You More Than My Dog,” Bliss illustrates how companies build customer devotion (and business profits) by clearly showing their customers who they are and what they believe in, essentially showing their human side. Bliss supports each of these five fundamental corporate decisions with real-life case studies from companies striving to earn and retain the loyalty of their customers.
- Decide to Believe—Beloved companies believe and trust their employees and customers. They believe in the good judgment of the people they hire and in the honesty and integrity of their customers.
- Decide with Clarity of Purpose—Beloved companies are clear about their purpose and how it supports their customers’ lives. They have a clear vision of the experience they deliver to their customers and the employees share the common goal of delivering that experience.
- Decide to Be Real—Beloved companies shed their fancy packaging and give their employees permission to be “real.”
- Decide to Be There—Beloved companies are there for the customers and on the customers’ terms. They deliver what the customer desires and provide an experience the customer believes they could not have received any where else.
- Decide to Say Sorry—Beloved companies apologize and commit to fixing the problem for the customer. Great apologies are delivered with humility and without a lot of fanfare.
- Bliss asks: “What defines your experience? Would 10 random people in your company give the same definition of your customer experience? If not, imagine what you’re delivering.”
Our thoughts: Every company should have a well-defined vision of what the ideal customer experience looks like. Every employee should understand the vision and strive to live up to it 100 percent of the time.
- Bliss asks: “Do you hire people who fit the soul of your company? Do you encourage those who don’t to leave? If you don’t, everything you’re building is on shaky ground. Customer interactions will always vary between great experiences delivered by passionate people and mediocre ones delivered by the rest. Beloved companies are filled with people who love what they do.”
Our thoughts: Bliss illustrates this point with a story about Zappos.com, the online clothing and shoe retail store (which offer free shipping both ways, no questions asked). Zappos conducts a rigorous interview process to make sure potential employees fit their service culture and one of their core values, which is to be “a little weird at times.” During the four-week new hire training, Zappos offers new hires $2,000 to leave if they feel like they don’t fit the culture. When your customers interact with your bank, are they dealing with passionate advocates of your company or with people who would rather be doing something else? I bet your customers can tell the difference.
- Bliss asks: “Are you there for customers? Do your customers’ lives inform and inspire the behavior, the actions, and the operation of your business? Is your operating plan based on your priorities or customer priorities? Can customers easily tell the story of the experience you deliver?”
Our thoughts: In your day-to-day activities, do you talk about your customers and what they need, or do you focus on your “internal” issues? Do you stop to assess the customer impact before you make decisions? Start each meeting with a few customer comments or discussing a customer issue. It will change the tone of the meeting and put the focus back where it belongs: on the customer.
- Bliss asks: “Can you suspend the fear and say ‘we’re sorry’?”
Our thoughts: Bliss describes how the University of Michigan Hospital adopted a program called Sorry Works, which encourages medical transparency and a heartfelt apology when there is a problem. Some were concerned that this would result in an increase in malpractice claims, but in actuality, the exact opposite occurred. In August 2001, the hospital had 262 malpractice claims, but by 2006 the number dropped to 104. Some employees may have trouble apologizing for something that took place elsewhere in the organization and was not their fault. However, in the customer’s eyes, any employee is the company and he or she can deliver a sincere apology on behalf of the company. Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology.