It’s the holiday season and year-end bonuses, a time when even the most results-oriented executives are capable of a little caring and compassion for their fellow human beings. That’s a good thing, says Marc Cox, because companies that really want to be successful, especially in the business-to-consumer space, need to start showing true love to their customers and employees.
“And at the end of the day, we’re people, and we want to do business with people who we get along with and who we believe in,” Cox said. “Why would you want to spend your money when all you get is a very transactional experience?” If businesses want loyalty and want long term relationships with their customers, then they have to work harder to create that relationship.
Cox’s book, The business case for love, offers practical advice for creating these relationships. He says it starts with your employees.
“If you want your customers to love you as a business or as a customer experience, you have to start with the employees who love what they do,” Cox explains. “The vast majority really want to work for a company they believe in. Most people want to be proud of the company they work for. Most people want it to have a purpose. They want him to have beliefs. They want it to have values and that’s especially true for millennials – and it’s even truer for millennials. So if you think you’re having trouble with millennials, wait until millennials reach really his rate of employment!
This generational shift is the by-product of the many high-profile business failures that have occurred over the past two decades. Cox says young workers have little tolerance for toxic corporate cultures or narcissistic leadership.
“They want a sense of collaboration. They want a feeling of we, “he explains.” I think love is the extreme version of that. “
When Cox first started preaching the gospel of love to business leaders, it didn’t always go well.
“Word to like was incredibly divisive, ”he recalls. “It still makes me laugh that in my first presentations, twice people said to me, ‘Well I like what you’re talking about, but if we’re going to present to the board or the team direction, do you have another word for to like? ‘ People were afraid of it. “
But he says many large companies understand the value of this emotional engagement and have made it part of their DNA.
One of the best examples, according to Cox, is Gymshark: a British fitness clothing brand that has laser-focused on its customer experience and core values since its inception by Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan in 2012. Francis, who became the CEO of the company, developed a reputation – and a large number of YouTube followers – for being radically transparent with employees, posting emotional videos explaining his decision-making when he decided to leave his post leadership in 2015, when he sold a major stake in a U.S. private equity firm in 2020, and when he returned to the helm earlier this year.
Other companies take a different approach.
“Sadly, the best example of a company which in my opinion has destroyed its love for both employees and customers is British Airways,” Cox said, adding that BA has become “a very transactional business. “both in terms of treating its customers and the way it treats its employees.
“If a business focuses only on numbers, it never gets there because that number just supports all behaviors; whereas, if you focus on what you believe in and focus on the right products and focus on employee experience and customer experience, you get the number, ”he says, citing Apple as another example of a company that gets it right. “At the end of the day, rightly or wrongly, it comes down to leadership. “