Thursday, January 8, 2009

Being a Practitioner of Love and Humility

In a recent post,Innovate or Die, as a part a powerful series on innovation, Tom Peters writes on the value of "pissed-off customers."

"Pissed-off Customers Association. No group is more valuable than pissed-off customers!! (Even, or especially, irrationally pissed off customers.) Make them part of the family," Peters writes. "Shower them with love. Reward them for their contributions. Bring then into electronic and physical networks."

I love this quote. Peters writes of how pissed-off customers can actually serve to better us and our business. Through love and humility we off-set anger, making us better in the process and when reached these customers are bound to become our most loyal ones.

There is a beautiful acknowledgment in the quote that as business owners we are not perfect in practice. There is the acknowledgment that we hear the voice of our customers. There is the sense of valuing customers enough to bring them lovingly and patiently along.

Who's doing this en masse today? I suspect small businesses are more apt and agile for such focus. But is it being done effectively in large corporations? For this kind of focus in larger companies a kind of cultural pervasive leadership that begins internally from the top seems essential. Charity begins at home and is demonstrated by parents first.

As a corporate facilitator for Fortune 500 companies for a number of years, I facilitated courses in customer service and assisted in the design of training material. This kind of approach to customer service, one that stems out of love and humility, would have been useful.

Practice love and humility. It's not only good for humanity; it's good for business too.

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