Welcome to the Week… A Real Relationship

Good Morning & Welcome to the Week…

Before I started Fitlife Foods, I spent 9 years in the casual dining sector of the restaurant business.  As Valentine’s Day approached, I would recall the endless forecasting and predictions about how the restaurants would perform on Valentine’s Day.  When it is was on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, traditionally slower days for restaurants, it was a win.  When it landed on a Friday or Saturday, it was a bummer (as this is already the busiest day for restaurants). One of the things that stuck with me most thought is what the industry veterans would call the couples that brave the crowd and go out on Valentine’s Day.  They referred to it as “amateur night.”

Most restaurants would take their 4 and 6 tops and try every conceivable way to convert nearly every seat of a restaurant into a two top so couples can gaze into each other’s eyes and profess their love for each other. I recall from my days working for a large restaurant company, that this was the phrase that was often thrown around.  I assume this was because they thought that many of these people only go out for special occasions.

The more I thought about their assumptions, the more it made me think; when would it not be amateur night?  What I love about Valentine’s Day is that it is a day to celebrate love.  Love for someone else is the highest level of admiration and care that you can share with others.  However, what about the other 364 (or this year 365) days of the year?

And, are we just talking about the love of a spouse, significant other, partner, child, parent or good friend?  What about business love?  What about love for a customer?  We hear that term thrown out there an awful lot. We love our customers? Does Starbucks love me?  Does a restaurant that calls someone “amateurish” for spending the night out with a partner love their customers?  Does Chipotle love their customers as they shuttle down an assembly line?  Good products, yes.  Love, I am not sure.

I strongly believe in the equation of love for our customers.

Genuine Care + Appreciation + Communication + Surprise and Delight = Customer Love

The only word that deletes the “customer” from the love equation and makes it deeper is time. When I make the time to spend with someone, I form a deeper bond.  This is why family is held at the highest levels of love. When I have the time to spend with you and get to know the depths of you, I form a deeper connection.   This is when the equation changes slightly.

Genuine Care + Appreciation + Communication + Surprise and Delight + Time = Love

When customers walk in the door at Fitlife Foods, we attempt to make every stride to form a connection, similar to how one would make a connection with someone they care about.  We want our team to look each other and our customers in the eye, we want our team to actively listen so we can understand the needs of our customers and each other and we want to have a culture of surprising and delighting.

A complimentary product we have at Fitlife Foods and to me, a big reason for us being who we are is our 1:1 Wellness Coaching program, Project U.  With Project U, our Wellness Coaches in each store sit down with customers and provide for them their baseline measurements.  When a customer can receive information like their lean body mass, body fat %, hydration levels, weight and other key measures and have an outlet to speak with someone about their daily food consumption and exercise habits, it becomes more than just a customer transaction, a connection is formed.

Where in your daily life, do you have an opportunity to surprise and delight?  Where do you have an opportunity to show genuine care and appreciation for others? Words matter. Sometimes it is a few simple words, but it can change the direction of a mood, a day and even better yet, a relationship.  Every personal and customer interaction (whether you are running a Fitlife Foods store, working in a kitchen (the server is your customer), a lawyer (yes, your client is a customer and you are in customer service), a health care professional or in any other business is an opportunity to strengthen connection.

So, as you embark on this week of Valentine’s Day, use this as a mental reminder to think not just about this week when the cues are everywhere, but use it for the other 51 weeks of the year.  Don’t be an amateur when it comes to genuinely caring, showing appreciation, communication and how you surprise and delight.

Recognize your power and the fact that it is your choice to make life about connections, not just about transactions.

Have an awesome week,

David Osterweil