The ‘Golden Rule’ To Navigating Customer Loyalty

The ‘Golden Rule’ To Navigating Customer Loyalty
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

In this op-ed, Sarah Jarvis (lead image), communications and propositions director at Eagle Eye, explains the golden rule for managing customer loyalty – being a good person!

In the hustle and bustle of the business world, it’s easy to compartmentalise life and work, seeing them as separate entities governed by different rules. But what if the key to success in business is not as complex as we think? What if it’s about something as fundamental as being a good human being?

Enter The Golden Rule – a timeless principle that transcends cultures and religions, instructing us to treat others as we would like to be treated.

The Deep Historic Significance of the Golden Rule

In its simplest form, the Golden Rule instructs us to “treat people the way you would like to be treated.” Jesus expressed it in Matthew 7.12 as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the law and the prophets”.

The universality of this principle is evident, with similar teachings found in various cultural and religious traditions:

  • The Torah says, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbour as yourself”.
  • Confucian tradition: “Be loyal to the principles of your heart and treat others with the same loyalty”.
  • Hindu Mahabharata: “This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you”.
  • Buddha: “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others”.
  • The Prophet Muhammad: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them.” The Golden Rule is centuries old and is pretty much a universal belief. And adding a little bit more of it to your business practices every day would make the world a much better place. Or, as one of my inspirations, Fred Reichheld, writes in his book The Loyalty Effect, “Every time you treat someone right – the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes – you are building your reputation and making the world a better place, one life at a time”.

Customer loyalty as the path to growth

Superior financial performance is best described as growth – growth in sales, profits, market share, cash, market capitalisation and so on. Growth is massively important. Everyone loves a winner, and customers want to be part of a success story. Growth also gives a company the freedom to act. This means it can hire top talent, pay well, reward success, invest in future growth and become a great place to be.

Let’s take a look:

  • Loyal customers are much more valuable than most businesses give them credit for. Research demonstrates that 20 per cent of customers will account for 60-80 per cent of sales. These customers extol the virtues of your product to others; they recommend and refer, and if you launch something new, they try it. They just get you and your products, and they are significantly more profitable. Most of a company’s work should be in knowing these customers, nurturing them and finding look-a-likes who can become like them.
  • The trouble is that many businesses do the opposite. They spend too much time and money chasing an increasingly disloyal customer base, resulting in insufficient funds to nurture and reward those customers who matter. But the power of personalisation is starting to change that, with many businesses seeing the benefit of harnessing their customer data to get the right message in front of the right customers, flexing their marketing investment on specific customers and moving away from “spray and pray” tactics.

Navigating the loyalty mission for business growth

Let’s reflect on the following from “The Udana” or “The solemn utterances of the Buddha”:

As a man traversing the whole earth

Finds not anywhere an object more lovable than himself;

Therefore, since the self is so universally loved by all,

The man who loves himself so much,

Should do no injury to others.

The endpoint, “do no injury,” is The Golden Rule, but what struck me was the starting point—the man for whom nothing was “more lovable than himself.” This holds the key to engagement: we are all our own favourite subjects. If you can start every conversation from the perspective of the individuals involved, they will listen more carefully and engage more freely.

Remember, the destination for a successful business is growth. The vehicle by which growth can and should be delivered is through loyalty. And the fuel that powers the vehicle is The Golden Rule.

It’s the way people need to behave to be most likely to create value and earn loyalty. Treat customers like employees and shareholders the way you would like to be treated, and your business will grow.

By embracing The Golden Rule, companies can forge a path to success that is not only profitable but also grounded in ethical and human-centric principles. After all, in the intricate dance of business, sometimes the most enduring lessons are the simplest ones – treat others as you’d like to be treated.

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