Every (smart) business wants to deliver “wow experiences” that not only satisfy customers and employees, but turn them into raving fans. Satisfied customers are happy, they don’t complain and probably will be loyal. Raving fans, on the other hand, are more than happy, they are delighted; beyond not complaining, they sing your praises; and on top of their loyalty, they bring all their friends with them. This is what separates a successful business from a ridiculously successful business.
But despite the many books and blogs, conferences and coaches that offer opinions on this topic, this holy grail still eludes the grasp of most companies. Why? Perhaps because the most effective solution is not found in organizational leadership, but spiritual leadership. What we need is the fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus famously taught his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself“, and also to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you“. What if your customers did not just feel appreciated, but loved? What if employers did not just value their employees, but loved them? That would be something to rave about. When was the last time you felt loved as a customer or employee?
I remember walking into a certain ice cream shop one day where I got what I asked for, service was quick, and the ice cream tasted great, but leaving the business the one thing that I found myself thinking about is how much those employees obviously did not want to be there. If someone had given me a survey I would probably say I was satisfied, and I would probably go there again, but I certainly was not a raving fan. Why? The place lacked joy.
Have you ever worked where people just don’t get along? Maybe there is back-biting gossip. Maybe there is outright arguing and name calling. Maybe there is just an acrid fog of unspoken ill-will permeating the halls and cubicles. Nobody likes to work in a place like that, and customers don’t like doing business with an organization like that. Seek peace and pursue it, and not counterfeit peace that is just surface deep, but real conflict resolution and unity, despite disagreements.
The two hardest people to deal with in business are customers and employees. Hey, I’m just saying it like it is. But, difficult people and situations also offer the best opportunity to create raving fans. When an agitated person vents all of their frustration and anger on you, and you reply with patience and composure, that makes an impact like nothing else can. And not just on the person with whom you are dealing with, but also with everyone in the audience. And in business, you always have an audience.
I love World Help. We support their life-changing ministry as a company and also as a family. Every year we attend their Global Impact Summit to hear first hand about the impact we are having with our support and how we can get even more involved, and every year I am blown away by the kindness of World Help’s people. Simple yet powerful acts of kindness, like handwritten thank you notes at our dinner table and hotel room, arranging for first-class child care for us families with littles, always seeking us out with a kind smile and genuine “thank you for being here”, all of these endear me more and more to World Help as a supporter and raving fan.
Most businesses try to be ethical, but ethical is a pathetic benchmark of goodness. An ethical business is a business that does not do bad things, but inspiring business don’t just avoid bad, they do good. Business is an incredible mechanism for creating positive impact in the lives of people all over the world. Ken Blanchard, the pre-eminent leadership expert and author of the books “Raving Fans” and “One Minute Manager“, says it this way, “We need a new leadership model that focuses not only on goal accomplishment, but also on the greater good.”
If your business is a force for good in the world, that is something worth raving about.
Don’t stab people in the back. Follow through on your promises. Say what you do, and then do what you say. Do you want faithful customers and employees? Then be faithful to them.
Domineering boss? Pushy salesman? Not rave worthy. Empathetic employer? Service over sales? Now you’re talking, and so are your customers.
Delivering an experience worth talking about takes self-control. It takes doing the hard thing because it is the right thing. Creating wow does not happen impulsively, but takes preparation and intentionality. And it certainly takes self-control to live out all the traits mentioned above.
Now, here’s the catch: It isn’t so easy to live out these principles, and even harder still to train an entire organization to live out these principles on a daily basis. These values do not come naturally to us — certainly not to me! The Bible calls them the “fruit of the Spirit” for a reason. These are traits that can only be ours by the grace of God. Do you want these values to be yours? Skip the conference. Pray for revival.
Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!