As a customer loyalty-focused marketer, Jeanne Bliss has been in the marketing game with some notable brands: Lands’ End, Coldwell Banker, Allstate, Microsoft, and Mazda. She has seen how making the wrong decisions can lead to forging customer disloyalty and how making the right decisions lead to fostering customer loyalty.
I’ve known Jeanne for a couple years. Smart gal. And her latest book, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, is a smart read for businesses wanting to earn loyalty from customers. (Since Jeanne is a friend, she gave me a copy to read. Friends are nice that way. Thanks Jeanne.)
Jeanne is onto something worth reading by framing her book around exploring five decisions company’s make (or don’t make) to become a beloved brand.
To summarize key points from the book, let’s give it the Brand Autopsy "WHAT? – SO WHAT? – WHAT NOW?" treatment...
“When you make a decision, it results in action. And the accumulation of those decisions and actions become how people describe you and think of you. It becomes your ‘story.’”
“As customers and employees, we crave what beloved companies deliver. They enable people to decide and act from a corner of their brain that is congruent with doing the right thing. In doing so, they build an organization with energy and spirit that draws customers to them.”
“[There] are five decisions that set beloved companies apart. These five decisions reveal who they are and what they value.”
Decide to Trust Customers and Employees
“By deciding to trust customers, [companies] are freed from extra rules, policies, and layers of bureaucracy that create a barrier between them and their customers. And by deciding to believe that employees can and will do the right thing, second-guessing ... is replaced with shared energy, ideas, and a desire to stick around.”
Decide to be Guided by a Clarity of Purpose
“Beloved companies take their time to be clear about what their unique promise is for their customers’ lives. Clarity of purpose guides choices and united the organization. It elevates people’s work from executing tasks to delivering experiences customers will want to repeat and tell others about.”
Decide to be Real, Genuine, and Personal
“... beloved companies shed their fancy packaging. Beloved companies strike a chord with customers. They decide to create a safe place where the personality and creativity of their people shine through.”
Decide to Deliver Thoughtful Customer Experiences
“Beloved companies think and rethink how to conduct themselves, so they earn the right to their customers’ continued business. Their ‘experience’ is far more than the execution of an operating plan. [Beloved companies] leave customers thinking, ‘Who else would have done this?’ ‘Where else could I get this?’ ‘I want to do this again.’”
Decide to Apologize
“When a beloved company apologizes for something that goes wrong, the intent and motivation is to make customers whole—to earn the right to continue the relationship. Many companies consider the apology as admitting defeat. In actuality, the reverse is true. A well-executed apology: one that is timely and delivered with humility and remorse ... often build a much stronger relationship. Both the customer and company win.”
Decide to Read I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG
(This is a bonus decision you should make.)