In the old game of business, the prevailing mantra was “high leverage, high profit, high payoff.” In the new game of business, the mantra needs to be “love, serve, and love some more.”
What do love and service have to do with running a business?
It all has to do with the hierarchy of human interaction, which consists of three levels: obey, serve and love.
Obey. Suppose you call a company to help you solve a problem. You ask to receive the service a certain way and they say, “I’m sorry, that’s against our procedures.” This is the lowest level of human interaction because the company is more concerned with obeying their own rules than helping to solve your problem.
Unfortunately, most companies operate on the level of “obey.” They spend more time trying to get customers to understand why they can’t help them (because it would violate their rules) than they do actually helping them.
Serve. Moving up one level is simple. Instead of telling customers, “Sorry, that’s our policy here,” change it to, “How can I help you? How can I serve you?”
When somebody calls for service, never put your rules and policies ahead of serving the customer, unless to do so would violate the law or cause potential legal liability. Absent of any legal ramifications, always put serving ahead of obeying.
Love. The highest level of human interaction is love. Service is asking someone, “How can I serve you?” Love involves taking the time to listen to someone and understand how they truly feel. It requires compassion, empathy and understanding, even when people are angry or upset with you.
Love may sound like it has no place in the cold, hard business world. In reality, love is a very pragmatic business strategy. People love to be cared for, and there are very few times in the business world where they can say, “That person cared about me. That person served me in the spirit of love.”
When you interact with customers in the spirit of love (as opposed to doing something because you have to), it takes the relationship to a whole new level. People will overlook bad service, bad policies and a lot of other mistakes when they feel you truly care about them.
This concept of love and service applies to employees as well as customers. Start treating your people as human beings rather than as a cost on the balance sheet and they will never leave you.
More than anything, people want to be cared for and cared about. When you treat your customers with love, they don’t even think of doing business anywhere else.
This post is the fourth in a series of excerpts from OneCoach CEO John Assaraf’s interview with business consultant Mitch Axelrod, author of The New Game of Business.