Updated: Jun 14
Sitting in a nice coffee shop in the outskirts of Atlanta on a somewhat gloomy day. In the background, “I want to know what love is” by Foreigner and in my head a conversation with a client from yesterday. A former customer I should say. He told us a few days ago that they are leaving us and laid out the list of items as the reasons for it. Looking at their list, I could not find one good one. I could not see any real reason as to why the change of heart. All of these reasons were technical, operational but nothing he would find differently elsewhere, nothing special he will find with a competitor. It’s like there was something there. Underneath the surface. Something he was not saying. So, I asked to speak with him separately, one-on-one and Emotional Relevance him a bit to try and find out the reason.
We get on the call, joke around a bit and discuss last night’s NBA scores. All feels fine. I take a deep breath and dive in.
Me: “So, I wrote down the items that led to you leaving us and it seems they are all technical, operational”
Client: “Well, you know, there was this and also the new guy on your end, and my boss wanted some change and I figured timing was right to make a change”
Me: “Permission to be blunt your honor”
Client (chuckling): “Ha ha…go ahead”
Me: “Look, I respect you, and I’ve been in this client relationship business for a while. This sounds a bit like B.S to me. It feels like there is something there you are not really saying”
Client (sighing): “Look Alon, to be completely honest, and I asked my team as well, your guys are the ones we know the least amongst all of our vendors. It’s all business. What it came down to is, we simply don’t feel the love.”
There it was. They didn’t FEEL the love. No technical issue nor operational item can replace that feeling of love. So, I started thinking about it. What is that LOVE our customers are looking for? How do we maintain that over time and making sure that regardless to any feature and functionality issue that may arise, they will still FEEL the love? And what is love for each one of our clients? After all, each one of them may want, need, require some love. A different type of love but love.
“ I wanna know what love is I want you to show me, I wanna feel what love is I know you can show me"
Michael L. Jones - Foreigner
I decided to go to my best and only fully dedicated customers and ask them – my kids. I asked my oldest daughter.
Me: “Do you know I love you?”
Oldest: “Of course I do dad, is there a catch here?”
Me: “No catch, just wondering. How do you know I love you?”
Oldest: “Well…..you tell me all the time.”
I then turn to my 16 years old son.
Me: “Hey, do you know I love you?”
Son: “Of course I do”
Me: “How do you know?”
Son: “Dad, everything OK?
Me: “Yes, all good, just wondering. How do you know I love you”
Son: “Hmmmmmm…….I just know”
Taking mental notes I pull all of my doubts, all my uncertainties, collect a bag of gutsiness and call my youngest daughter, 15.
Me: “Hi my love, how are you? Can I ask you a question?”
Youngest: “Dad, I’m busy now, what’s up?”
Me (feeling horrible about interrupting her busy schedule but pushing forward): “Do you know I love you?”
Youngest: “Dad, I don’t have time for this, talk to you later.”
What have I learned:
1. Tell them. Constantly and in different ways. Constantly.
2. Be there for them. Also, constantly and in different ways.
3. Get to know them and let them get to know you (note to self - get a TikTok account).
Recently I have been challenged yet again with love related issues in my personal life so I am digging a bit deeper. Although I don't remember my dad telling me he loved me I know he did. I am just thinking that perhaps this is the basis for my dedicated pursue of that elusive emotion called love. The emotional experience. Perhaps because my dad never instilled the basis of it in me, perhaps that is why I FEEL I need to learn and understand more about love. Whatever love is. Perhaps this is why my kids KNOW I love them so much without the need to verbalize it. They just FEEL it.
I believe we all do. Desire that feeling that is. The feeling of being accepted, hugged, known, recognized, acknowledged…..loved. That sense of belonging. At different degrees, aspects and levels but we all need it. Thankfully, there is so much research and tons of studies around this topic that it’s not only me who believes that. And if we all need that feeling, this means our clients crave it as well (some studies and articles on the matter: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085598/, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindfully-present-fully-alive/201711/the-inescapable-importance-acceptance, http://www.utahcountycounselors.com/patient-resources/learning-library/the-need-to-relate-and-feel-accepted/, https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-drives-our-need-for-approval#1 )
Think for a minute – do your customers know you love them? Do you tell them that in an ongoing basis and in different ways? Have you been there for them lately? Do you really know them? Do they know you?
Here is what I’d like to ask you to do. Call one of your customers (and yes, feel free to call your kids, your wife, husband, girlfriend, anyone you care for as well for this exercise) and ask them: “Do you know I love you?”
Just by asking you will Stand Out and Get Personal which are two of the three pillars of Emotional Relevance™. But then, more importantly, you will know whether they do know or not. And perhaps more importantly, if you dare to ask them further, how do they know you love them, you will realize, just like you, yourself, that THEY, just like Foreigner sang, want to know what love is.
And then it’s just up to you.
To show them.
What love is.