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Loyalty, data and “The Golden Rule” behind customer success
Thu, 4th Apr 2024

The Golden Rule – a timeless principle that transcends cultures and religions, instructing us to treat others as we would like to be treated. It's a principle that is a powerful, transformational force behind business, customer and personal success. Sarah Jarvis, Communications and Propositions Director at Eagle Eye, discusses.

What is 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 in 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."

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:

  • Customers: Loyal customers are much more valuable than most businesses give them credit for. Research demonstrates that 20% of customers will account for 60-80% 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.

  • Employees: Loyal employees just get it. They understand the story, the mission, teammates and the customer base. They know how to contribute effectively and what it takes to get the job done. They are more productive. Being part of a winning team makes them happy, and a happy workforce translates into a positive experience for your customers.

But creating engaged and loyal employees doesn't happen by accident. They are the product of good leadership and thoughtful day-to-day management. It's about creating an environment where individuals can enjoy their work, get on well with their boss and their team and be satisfied to do their job well.

  • Shareholders: Loyal shareholders back management. They believe in the story. If the results align with their expectations, the forecasts are believable, and the plans to deliver look sensible, you will gain shareholder loyalty. You'll hold onto it by ensuring that you underclaim and over-deliver, never disappoint, make the shareholders money and make them feel smart for having picked your stock in the first place.

If you can build a loyal shareholder base, they will support your plans. They will also give you permission to do the right things for customers and employees so you can earn their loyalty. What does this have to do with the Golden Rules? 

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.

DIAL-ing into success starts with data

When undertaking analysis for any purpose, the starting point has to be the data that you need to be sure is both accurate and representative (at Eagle Eye, +95% of our team respond to our quarterly eNPS survey).

You then have to ensure that you're constantly turning the DIAL, by which we mean starting with the "Data" but ensuring you use it to derive "Insights" which enable you to take the right "Actions" to engender "Loyalty". Skipping the "Insight" step when moving from "Data" to "Action" can be perilous. Or worse, you can generate Insights but fail to take any Actions which results in Learning, not Loyalty.

This model has consistently delivered measurable value from customer data. Much of what I've learned about customer-centricity in my marketing career can be applied to how you should treat your employees, and the DIAL model is no exception.

Building an exceptional team

The answer to building an exceptional team is simple: follow The Golden Rule. Aim for an adult-to-adult relationship between the company and your employees. Essentially, your employees must know that the more they give, the more they will get.

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.