I recently had the pleasure of being with my wife as she watched her beloved alma mater, Ohio State, beat its long-time rival, Michigan, in their annual football matchup. While it’s been several decades since Holly sat in the stands cheering on her team as a student, you would’ve thought it was just yesterday as she hooted, hollered, and even dropped a few choice expletives. She is consistently passionate and loyal to Ohio, regardless of whether they win or lose. Collegiate teams, and even many professional sports franchises, serve as models for creating experiences that enroll people in inviolable attachment, win or lose.
Imagine if your company had that type of loyalty from customers. In spite of occasional failings and shortfalls, they stick by you, your relationship transcending any one transgression or problem. Such loyalty is not only possible, it should be the goal of every business of every size. To achieve this, your organization must employ T-V-A:
- Trust: Make promises that are ALWAYS kept.
- Value: Provide value customers need along with value they didn’t know they couldn’t live without.
- Amends: While you must never fall short on promises, mistakes will happen. Own them, without making excuses, and while making things right use it as an opportunity to deepen your relationship with the client.
Most companies fall short in one or more of these areas at least some of the time. As a leader, it’s your job to ensure this never, ever happens. Yes, this is about perfection, and these three areas can be done perfectly as they are completely within your control if the appropriate processes are in place. If your customers trust that everything you promise will be delivered and if they receive anticipated and unanticipated value, the mistakes, as long as they do not happen often and are handled well, are quickly forgotten. Just like last week’s loss by your favorite team is ancient history, the next time they win, your clients will always be cheering you on as you build and sustain trust, deliver tremendous value, and make amends, as needed.