It Takes More than Respect to Win Your Customer

Are you on the journey to create a Cult Brand? Then you must understand that respecting the customer is very important. “Treat others as you want to be treated,” As the Golden Rule instructs. It takes a lot more than respect, however, to win the heart of your customers.

Most companies think that showing your customer respect is conveyed in the trade of money for goods that come with a warranty. That barely hits the minimal standard in today’s business world.

Southwest is a great example of how a company can go above and beyond the norm. Southwest Airlines continues to grow its business in a struggling airline industry because they have a commitment to their customer. They respect the customers’ time and money by having on-time arrivals and departures. They respect the customer’s trust by misplacing their luggage. They show the customer love by cultivating an entire company devoted to serving them.

We expressed the love Southwest shows to its customer in our Southwest Airlines Cult Brand Profile: “There’s no hierarchy between pilots and baggage handlers. Everyone is working together to best serve the customer and they’re happy to do it. Not only does their state of mind create a positive atmosphere for the customers, but their efficient, communication-focused approach has resulted in fewer lost bags, fewer delays, and, inevitably, fewer complaints.”

Apple stores are another great example of a brand working hard to respect and care for its customer. Apple assembles an inviting store layout that is easy to browse and interact with products for anyone. They constantly have Mac genius’s looking for people to help with any problem no matter how big or small. The same employee that helps you select your products is the same person helping you checkout, trying to create a more personal experience for the customer. The employee is also ready at a moments notice to help the customer checkout from anywhere in the store to avoid waiting in line. The customer doesn’t even have to worry if they have the receipt in the bag since Apple e-mails a copy to the consumer in case they need to return anything.

The Respect Research Group explains, “Respect seems to denote a characteristic of interaction, which is more than acceptance but does not reach as far as love.” That’s why you must show your customer more than respect. Demonstrate that you love your customer as much as your customer loves you. When you show them love they will begin to feel like they are a part of something more. Eventually, they may even feel like they’re a part of the family. (link to, Apple genius bar helping customer or Mac convention)

Build a brand that operates from love, not fear. Herb Keller, CEO of Southwest Airlines says, “An organization bound by love is far more powerful than one bound by fear.” Don’t be afraid to show more than respect to your customer, empower your employees to serve them and show them love. This will build trust* between your customers and your brand, creating a relationship that benefits all.

* Trust drives sales. If a company loses the customer’s trust, three out of four (76%) say they will simply stop buying from them. Conversely, if a company earns consumer trust, 42% will buy more products and over half (54%) will recommend the product to others. Women in particular believe trust is an essential quality in the companies they buy from (56% of females cite this as important versus 47%). (Source: UK Customer Trust index 2007.)

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