I don’t feel it’s appropriate for a business to ‘love’ its customers. Loving someone is a personal bond that shouldn’t be related to business, (unless you’re Lady Gaga, then you can love your ‘monsters.’)
However, I do feel strongly that a business should ‘like‘ its customers. When I go into a coffee house I can tell if they are serving drinks, or if they are offering a cup of like. Anyone can serve a drink, but serving like requires more than the mechanics of taking an order, knowing how much milk to put in a cup, and/or yelling, “I have a Venti Latte with two shots on the bar!”
My home Starbucks on 7th and Keystone in Reno, Nevada has ‘like’ down. They seem truly happy when a customer walks in the door. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their down days, but most of the time you will get more than your drink from the staff.
This is not what I experience when I travel. It’s easy to pick on airlines, because if there is one group of people who don’t ‘like’ their customers, it’s the air travel industry, but even finding hotel or restaurant staff that makes you feel liked has become harder and harder to do.
In fact, a business that likes their customer is so rare that a genuine friendly person stands out among the ugliness of customer service in most businesses. The opportunity to beat the competition is to simply like your customers.
The place to start is with management. Managers have to like their staff and like their job. If their not happy then how can the staff possibly be?
One more thought: In a world of Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp, how can any business not afford to like their customers?