I've recently just wrapped up reading Linchpin this last week (which by the way is a great book). I pretty much love any book by Seth Godin that I've read and this was no exception. One concept that really stuck out to me was Seth's focus on gift giving. He re-enforces the idea of gifts and how they are only really gifts if the giver expects nothing in return. The art of gift giving is selfless and genuine. It made me think of how a lot of companies work today. It seems like being good to those who are good to you is a lost art. Individuals will give a brand absolute loyalty because they love their product or service. What keeps these customers around? The companies who keep people loyal are ones that aren't jerks.
Just look at brands like Southwest, Zappos or insert any other HR case study here. The reason why fans keep coming back to them is because of their overwhelmingly awesome customer service. They give gifts to their customers. Treat them with genuine kindness and they're customers pay them back - sometimes doubly so. I remember how Gary Vaynerchuck talked at Digital Summit here in Atlanta about following a guy who had made a recent purchase from his wine shop. He followed that guy on Twitter, noticed he was a huge Jay Cutler fan and sent him a Bears jersey randomly - for no reason. In the end, that guy ended up devoting all of his business to the Wine Library - which was a few hundred thousands a year annually.
So whether you're a business or just a individual front facing a customer, just remember to be nice to people for a change. Your customers don't owe you anything. Doing good isn't just potentially good for business, it's just the right thing to do. You'll be surprised how much you may catch people off-guard ;)
What do you think?