The 5 Languages of Customer Love

5 Languages of Customer Love Picture

by Bob Salvas

In his book, The 5 Love Languages, psychologist Gary Chapman identifies the five ways that we communicate affection, particularly with our significant other. It is a wonderful book on human communication, teaching us how we give and receive the messages of love and affection.

Let’s change this from personal to business: What would the 5 languages of Customer love look like? In other words, what are the most important things I can do to attract, convert and retain customers? Using Gary Chapman’s book as a guide, here are 5 ways to earn the love of both your current and future customers:


Giving a tangible gift is a great sign of love. It is also a great marketing strategy. But gift-giving can get expensive. An alternative to giving a physical gift is to give the gift of knowledge. We live
in an information-rich and time-poor world. There is too much information out there and consumers have very little time to figure it all out. As an expert in your field, you have the opportunity to cut through that morass of information and get to what is important for someone who has a need for your product or service.

This approach is commonly referred to as content marketing: the creation and sharing of content in order to acquire customers. The information can be presented in person as well as in articles, books, guides, videos, blogs, white papers, etc. The internet and social media have exponentially increased your ability to post your knowledge and for people (who have a need) to then find that information. And finding your information can often lead to business for you!


Usually ‘touch’ refers to a physical act like in the way you shake hands when you meet someone. But ‘touch’ expands in the marketing sense, as in keeping ‘in touch’ with prospects and clients. Marketing guru Seth Godin once said, “People buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell.”

So when a person is in research mode, make it easy for them to find and download your e-book or white paper.  It’s important at that point to capture some information, especially that person’s email address. Having email addresses allows you to inexpensively keep in touch with prospects from the time when they begin their research until the time that they are ready to purchase.


The notion of ‘time’ usually means ‘spending time’ with a person. But the marketing concept of time can also refer to ‘timing’. One of the more famous quotes in marketing comes from Robert Collier who said, “Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.” While it is hard to be a mind-reader, there are some things you can do. A customer who has inquired about a service or product might be thinking about certain questions which you could answer right at the beginning. This can move the sales cycle along quicker.

The other aspect of timing is less personal and more universal. An example of this is a holiday like Christmas –we see a ton of marketing messages during the season because it is known
that many people are buying gifts. Whenever possible, tie your marketing messages to events, holidays, or seasonal changes that affect many people and are therefore already on their minds. And hey, isn’t this article about customer ‘love’ appearing just before Valentine’s Day? Exactly.


Service refers to doing things for other people. It often has an altruistic meaning to it. But in the business world, we sometimes get stuck thinking of it as ‘quid pro quo’ (this for that). Business is, after all, an exchange of goods and services for money. Businesses claim they provide good service, but how do they define that? A business owner may define good service as honoring the prices stated and delivering quality items as they have promised. Many businesses don’t fully realize is that service is the most critical component of a transaction.

In fact, experts don’t even call it service anymore, it is now considered customer experience which is the number one driver of repeat business. Consumers has more choices today than ever before. A bad or even marginal customer experience can cause that consumer to consider other options, including your competition.


Words are at the heart of marketing. We see them in the name of a company, in the tagline, in sales material, and in content generated. While all words are important, there are some that are more important than others.  Bill Schley, author of The Microscript Rules said, “It’s not what people hear, it’s what they repeat.” There is infinitely more power in the words that others use about you than in the words that you use about yourself.

It begins with customer experience. The better it is, the more unique it is, the more people will want to talk about it. But marketing and advertising can take it to the next level by choosing the right words. Some great business taglines are “Just Do It” used by Nike or “When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight,” used by FedEx.

Politicians have also used taglines with success like, “Read my lips, no new taxes,” said George H.W. Bush or “It’s the economy, stupid,” said Bill Clinton. In all these examples, the words were easily repeatable from one person to another. That gave the original saying life, long after the advertisements had stopped running. It is also important to note that whatever those key words are, the owner of those words has to live up to the promise those words stand for. Case in point, after George H.W. Bush won the election with his great tag line, he did, in fact, put in new taxes. The public remembered his repeatable line and promptly voted him out of office when he ran for re-election. So, in the end, it is always a combination of words and actions that can make or break you, whether you are a small business or running for President of the United States.

If I had to summarize ‘The 5 Languages of Customer Love’ in one theme, it really is caring about other people.  You see, people who care openly give their knowledge, they keep in touch with people, they give great service beyond what is expected or paid for, they do what they say they are going to do and they do whatever it takes to give their customers the very best business experience possible. This makes people want to become repeat customers and to tell others to do the same.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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