On a wall in the Louvre in Paris, France hangs one of history’s most famous paintings – the Mona Lisa. It took Leonardo da Vinci four years to paint the Mona Lisa; it didn’t happen overnight.
Why did one painting take so long, especially when da Vinci didn’t have the disturbances of text messages, email and cell phone calls that impede our focus in the 21st century?
The reason it took so long is because da Vinci was very deliberate with each stroke of the brush. Each time the paintbrush came in contact with the canvas, the artist was intent on producing a very specific – albeit subtle - outcome. The cumulative result of thousands of deliberate brush strokes was that renowned masterpiece that’s viewed by over a million admirers every year.
A masterpiece isn’t created overnight, and neither is a loyal customer.
Every interaction between an employee and a customer is like a single stroke of a paintbrush on canvas. And the evolving relationship between the customer and the business is like the evolving image on the canvas. Each brush stroke adds color and texture, and contributes to the outcome. Similarly, each engagement between an employee and the customer adds color to the relationship, changing the customer’s view of your business in some very subtle – or not-so-subtle way. Just as every brushstroke affects the image which is to become the paining, no interaction is without impact on the customer relationship.
Masters like da Vinci knew this, which is why each brushstroke was delivered with forethought, care, and in the context of his vision for a certain final outcome. He took no brushstroke for granted.
Smart companies today understand this, and like brushstrokes on canvas, they make sure that every customer interaction is delivered with forethought, care an in the context of a clearly-envisioned outcome.
They make sure by following certain best practices – they hire people that have a caring, nurturing attitude, they train employees with a focus on the customer, and conduct regular, daily briefings with employees to keep customer-focus top-of-mind. In a word, they help their employees to understand that every brushstroke matters; every brushstroke must be delivered with care, and with an eye on creating the kind of relationship that results in a loyal customer.
Loyal customers aren’t created overnight. But with careful attention to each individual interaction, and with a clear vision toward an ultimate outcome, a customer relationship can become a masterpiece, and one of many in a portfolio as large as the Louvre.