Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

The Valentine Obligation

February 14 is Valentine’s Day.  This is the day where we tell our spouses, significant others, loved ones, etc. that we love them.  Sometimes we even buy them presents, and in most cases it is expected.  I know that if I don’t buy my wife a present or flowers, it is going to be a long evening – maybe even a long month!

So, I feel like I have to buy a present.  That’s okay.  Valentine’s Day is the day where if you don’t acknowledge your loved one, you get in trouble.  In short, even though it is pleasant, it is an obligation.  This is what I call the “Valentine Obligation.”

So what about the rest of the year?  Does that mean I’m off the hook?  I don’t think so.  It is just that on this particular day, I have to do the “love-you-here-are-some-flowers” thing. However, throughout the year I still do Valentine’s Day type of things.  I may bring home a present, a surprise, whatever.  I always tell my wife I love her – almost every day.  It is an all-the-time thing.  Not just a “Valentine Obligation.”

So why am I telling you this.  It is the same in business!

Don’t just send a thank you note after the sale is made.  Don’t just send the holiday card because you feel you have to at the end of the year – because everyone else does.  If you truly want a long-term loyal relationship, then get away from the “Valentine Obligation” way of thinking.  Surprise customers, clients and employees.  Make them feel special when they are not expecting it.  Make appreciation an all-of-the-time thing!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

  1. This is GREAT Shep! I work in a field where we perform a service, our clients (we have around 29,000 nationwide)come to us because they have a need and being mainly an on line company our correspondence is mostly thru e mail. In each and every e mail we thank them for their “____ loyalty” as well as let them know we appreciate their business. We also have a ton of clients who will call their product/products so in addition to the e mails, what I like to do is , in the mornings before will call opens, I look up the starting dates of our doing business together so when they come in for a will call I can say to them “Happy 2nd or 3rd or 4th and so on Anniversary”. Between that and saying “Hi ” and then their name when they come in , they love it. For our first time clients I make sure to “Welcome ” them “to our ____family”. Always with a true smile. I really love what I do 🙂

    • Hi Robin – Thanks for your comment. Love this for a couple of reasons. First, you consistently thank your customers. Second, you are personalizing the experience with acknowledgment of how long they have been doing business with you. Thank you for sharing!

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