Book Review: I Love You More Than My Dog

I Love You More Than My DogIf you’re a fan of books like “Love is the Killer App” and “Nuts,” then you will enjoy “I Love You More Than My Dog” Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. This is one of those books about the cool companies you wish you had worked for, or better yet, had launched.

I got my hands on a review copy of “I Love You More Than My Dog” from Penguin Publishers. I chose to review this particular book because I thought you’d find it helpful in making your business the one your customers choose.

The book’s foreword is by Colleen Barrett (President Emeritus, Southwest Airlines). That should immediately tell you that this is going to be a book about how making money, serving customers and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive principles. And that is something that I’ve always been interested in. After all, if you’re going to put all that time, effort, energy and soul into a company, it might as well be fun as well as profitable.

Jeanne Bliss, the book’s author, should know. She’s spent her entire career working with many of the companies listed in the book as well as Costco, AAA and Symantec.

Inside “I Love You More Than My Dog”

The book is organized into 7 chapters. The first chapter is “Your Decisions Reveal Who You Are and What You Value.”  It gives wonderful insight into how it is that just five basic decisions have the power and the capacity to drive a company and the many employees and customers that it serves.

The last chapter, “The Decision is Yours,” throws down a challenge to the reader to understand the power of the choices you make and how those choices impact the business you’ve created. In other words, if you’re wondering why your company is NOT beloved among your employees or your customers, just look at the decisions you’ve made — and what they say about what you really value.

Each chapter in between is dedicated to each of the five decisions:

  • Decide to Believe: Beloved companies trust their employees and their customers. They suspend cynicism and create policies that assume honesty. My favorite example is of Zane’s Cycles, a Connecticut retailer that sells over $13 million worth of bicycles annually from one location. They encourage their customers to take test rides with no questions asked. That includes their $6,000 bicycles. Of the 4,000 bikes they sell each year, only five are stolen. It just doesn’t make sense to start a customer relationship on a note of distrust for the sake of the five people who are dishonest.
  • Decide with Clarity of Purpose: Companies who decide to focus their operations on why they exist for the customer are rewarded with loyalty and love from their customers. Trader Joe’s agonized over the decision to get scanning equipment because the pinging sound might interrupt their employees chatter with customers. Apple spent a lot of time and money creating a retail environment that encouraged “hanging around” so that the store would be a gathering place. You can see how unyielding focus on the customer experience is rewarded by happy customers.
  • Decide to be Real: To what degree do you “get” your customers? USAA decided that all their new hires should eat like soldiers. USAA offers home and auto insurance to a customer base that’s largely military members and their families. It’s clear from this example that USAA knows they can’t be real if they don’t know what it’s like.
  • Decide to be There: Beloved companies are “there” by giving their customers what they want. Zara, a trendy fashion store invests in getting fashion into the store within 15 days – instead of investing in advertising. Zane’s Cycles gives away parts that cost less than $1. Find out what’s important to your customers and then BE THERE and give it to them.
  • Decide to Say Sorry: At some point, things will go wrong. It’s how a company says “I’m sorry” that makes them beloved by their customers. Netflix decided that honestly was the best policy. In 2008, they notified all of their customers about a glitch that might have caused shipments to be late. Most customers never noticed the shipment, but they noticed the apology.

Is This Book For You?
Of course it is! This is one of those books that will make you stop and think about the core of your business. Every small business owner should be doing this kind of thinking.

“I Love You More Than My Dog” is full of stories, questions and lessons that you will want to incorporate into your business yesterday.  Grab this book here.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."