In our CX Book Review series, we review books about great customer experiences, the people who shape it and the culture that nurtures it. What books are you looking to read? Let us know!
Jeanne Bliss is no stranger to the ways of the experience economy. From training phone reps at Land’s End in 1983 to becoming the founder of Customer Bliss, she has been nurturing customer relationships for almost forty years now. She pioneered the term Chief Customer Officer and has set new benchmarks for customer experience at brands like Lands’ End, Microsoft, and Allstate Corporations. So when she writes a book about what it takes to make a brand beloved by its customers, you can’t not read it!
You can watch a video review of it below.
‘I Love You More Than My Dog’ is a pretty apt, yet unconventional title for a book about customer experience. But then again, this book is not your conventional guide to customer experience. It is not a cheatsheet to customer experience that you can simply incorporate or execute in your business. Jeanne knows that customers are complex and there is ‘no one size fits all’ approach to customer experience. What she gives us instead, is a reflective journey that asks the right questions and attempts to answer them using real life incidents as inspiration. The very first page sets the tone of this book: it is a collage of glowing testimonials from the customers of brands that have earned customer advocacy. Earning that right is not easy. To get there, companies need to rethink their decision-making.
The Golden Rule
Most companies are judged by their actions (and in some cases, inaction). Jeanne Bliss disagrees. It’s not the action, but the decision that drove that action that determines who you are and what you stand for. Our decisions, or more accurately, the intent and motivation behind those decisions, make the difference between companies that are liked and companies that are loved. Jeanne introduces us to the Golden Rule, a principle we have all been taught.
The Golden Rule: We are all programmed to care. We naturally want to do the right thing.
According to Jeanne, this is what draws us to or away from companies. As employees, we are drawn to companies that allow us to be altruistic. As customers, we are emotionally attached to companies that think of us when they make decisions. And Jeanne believes it all bottles down to five decisions companies make everyday.
The Five Decisions That Make A Company Beloved
When you are a beloved company, your customers will tell your story to anyone who can listen. They’ll advocate for you more loudly than you could have marketed yourself. They’ll want their friends, family, and even strangers to know all about you and your actions. Your customers will grow your business for you. Jeanne Bliss believes five decisions set you apart. These five decisions tell the world who you are, what you stand for, and how well you’re applying the Golden Rule.
Beloved companies decide
- to believe.
- to be real.
- to be there.
- to say sorry.
- with clarity and purpose.
Beloved Companies Decide to Believe
When companies decide to believe, trust is reciprocated.
Belief is the cornerstone of impeccable customer experience. By saying that you believe your customers, you eliminate forms, cumbersome processes, and every element of bureaucracy that acts as a barrier between you and your customer. And when you believe that your employees will do the right thing, you empower them thereby creating an environment of contentment and security.
Beloved Companies Decide to Be Real
Beloved businesses are loved for who they are.
Beloved companies revel in honesty. Their humanity and authenticity are what set them apart. They go beyond the hype and fancy marketing when they interact with their customers. Beloved companies have distinct personalities and they ensure they do not lose this when it comes to their product, their customer service, their marketing campaigns, and their website. This extends to their business decisions as well: beloved companies blend their personalities with their corporate decisions to achieve extraordinary outcomes.
Beloved Businesses Decide To Be There
An everyday company sells cups. A beloved company supports parenthood.
Pleasing customers day in and day out is an uphill task that demands patience, sensitivity, and an inordinate amount of hard work. For beloved companies, how their customers live their lives inspires every decision they make. They constantly think and rethink how to conduct themselves and this reliability earns them the right to retain their customers.
Beloved Businesses Decide To Say Sorry
How you apologize is your humanity litmus test.
Beloved companies do not apologize to merely ‘get past the incident’. They do not consider the job done until the bridges are rebuilt and until the emotional connection is restored. Most companies do not apologize because they feel an apology is an admission of defeat. According to Jeanne, that logic is flawed. When a brand apologizes with humility, remorse, and authenticity, stronger relationships are built. Both the customer and the company win.
Beloved Companies Decide With Clarity of Purpose
Clarity of purpose unleashes your organization’s imagination to make decisions guided by its promise.
Most importantly, beloved companies know who they are. They take time to understand what their unique promise to their customers is. Without clarity and purpose, businesses cannot make decisions that matter, because neither the customer nor the employees know what the business stands for. Clarity of purpose guides choices and unites the organization, and it is no wonder that companies with clarity of purpose have the most engaged employees and the most loyal customers.
While Jeanne’s insights are comprehensive and insightful, they are not what made the book stand out. What really elevated this book to its cult status, in my opinion, are the case studies that follow every chapter. You do not learn customer experience by theory, you learn it by example. The book has almost a hundred case studies of brands like Netflix, Johnson and Johnson’s, Zara, and Southwest Airlines, with Jeanne introducing the decisions that these brands made. She then narrates what happened and explains why that decision made the brand beloved by its customers. While you might never find yourself in an exact situation, the philosophy behind the response remains the same.
Summing up, I Love You More Than My Dog (my cat was offended) was a thoroughly insightful read that explained what makes a brand beloved. While there aren’t any takeaways (it didn’t feel right to provide you with a bunch of generic takeaways from a book that maintained that there is no one size fits all approach to this subject), it always helps to remember the key decisions that can help make brands beloved. And most importantly, never forget the Golden Rule.
This book is a must-read for companies that want to learn how to be beloved by their customers. Have you read I Love You More Than My Dog? Let me know what you thought about the book and what you learned from it.