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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/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXI, Shep Hyken)

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