loveAs time ticks down towards the end of February, my thoughts turn once again to our theme of love & relationships.

That’s not surprising for me personally, as I’m delighted to share that I’ve just become a grandfather for the second time. Woohoo! My granddaughter, Isabelle (aged 2), now has a baby brother (Jacob). Seeing him for the first time yesterday of course brought out the doting softie in me.

But, I’m pleased to see that our romance theme this month has also been taken up by other sites, as they consider what it means for the way you lead your business. Here are just three of the best, one on loving your customers, one for your employees & a surprise bonus ‘love topic’ (with video data visualisation).

The first article that struck me (partly because I’d thought of writing one similar) is this one from Customer Think. Here, Elias Parker shares seven great examples of companies who successfully “love their customers” and achieve an emotional connection with their brand in return. It’s interesting to see the range of sectors and types of businesses represented, proving this is an achievable goal for a wider variety of companies. Helpfully, none are perfect examples, but all come with real applications to inspire you:

7 Companies Whose Customer Service Makes Us Swoon

Last week, a bunch of fellow #ICMIchat-ers and I met to discuss our customer service crushes, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Some of the regular suspects were mentioned (Amazon and Zappos, naturally), but it got me to thinking-what are some other brands that are doing customer service really well?

From the same site, which can be a treasure chest of customer related thinking at times, there was also a useful article focussing on our other challenge. As I shared in a post of Valentine’s Day, there is so much opportunity still for leaders to learn from their personal relationships in order to be more authentic in their relationships with both customers & employees. So, in this second post, Sidharth Suri shares four simple ways to build better relationships with your employees or team. None is rocket science, but their simplicity makes them relevant and easy to implement for most businesses. Why not try at least one of these?

Four ways to treat your internal customers as well as your external ones

The thing about business today, is that thanks to technology – people expect a lot. We’re plugged in, and we’re used to seeing results immediately. Word of mouth communication still exists, but now, it’s got a partner in crime: The Information Age. The status quo just doesn’t hold water anymore, and that’s a good thing.

As you grow older, your thoughts also turn to legacy. What can you pass on? How can you ‘love‘ future generations and leave the world a better place for your grandchildren’s grandchildren? Before I wax too philosophical, suffice to say that this month’s topic also got me thinking about a better relationship with our natural environment. On that theme, the most memorable content I watched this week was a beautiful data visualisation video, with an explanatory voice over. As an alternative to a more academic paper, or even PowerPoint presentation, it does a wonderful job of explaining (at a high-level) the benefits of better mathematical modelling of complex networks. Sound dry? It isn’t. This approach brings to life the applications to plants & animals, ecosystems & the complexity their ecosystems present. A great example of what video can add to data visualisation & simplifying communication.

A great job by Mauro Martino and Jianxi Gao of Northeastern University in Boston. Well done guys! Here it is for you all to enjoy:

I hope those three reflections have helped you “feel the love“. How are you managing to improve your relationships with customers or employees this month?

If you haven’t made any changes yet, I hope at least one of the ideas above prompts you to try.

Let’s value every relationship we have.