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, LinkedIn, and hundreds of Web sites 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
- They Decide to Say Sorry
These five decisions create a seismic shift from mere business to beloved company. Let’s briefly outline each here.
- Beloved Companies Decide to Believe
“We trust our customers. We trust those who serve them.”
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.
Equally as important is a company’s belief in its employees. It’s the belief that lets employees know they are trusted to make the right decisions, without being scrutinized or strictly monitored.
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
“We are clear about the purpose we serve in our customers’ lives.”
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
“We are genuine, passionate and take the best version of ourselves to work.”
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
“We are in the scrimmage every day to build our operation from our customers’ perspective.”
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
“We are humble. We accept accountability. We will make it right.”
Grace and wisdom guide beloved companies to accept accountability when the chips are down, when things don’t go the way they planned.
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.
Want to Know More About How to Become a Beloved Company?
- Pick up a copy of “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decision that Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad”
- Take the 10 question online quiz to find out if your company is beloved.
- Follow Jeanne on Twitter.
- Get an RSS feed of Jeanne’s blog to get tips, ideas and tools you can use.