Valentine's Day is a tricky holiday: The odds that someone will find your Cupid-inspired marketing campaign endearing is arguably equal to the number of customers that would like to shoot you in the thigh with one of his arrows.

But hope, love, hearts and flowers seem to spring eternal, at least from the keyboards and touchscreens of advertisers and marketers.

And whether you see all this as balm for your happy heart or salt for the wounds of your loveless life, well, we're going to pour it on anyway.

So what have we got for you today? The thoughtful words of Lucy Norris, SVP Global Leader of Customer Success at Genesys, who thinks a great customer relationship is like a great marriage.

"While you may not be sending bouquets of roses to your customers today, surprising them with occasional treats remains one of the hallmarks of what can keep customer relationships thriving, year after year," she said.

9 Ways to Work It

On the countdown to this biggest of Hallmark holidays, Norris reminds us that every healthy relationship takes work — but that what’s necessary to maintain healthy customer relationships really isn’t that different from what’s required in marriages and long-term personal relationships.

Skeptical? Here are nine parallels:

  1. You know communication is crucial: Allow customers to engage with your company across any channel they want, answering promptly and communicating proactively.
  2. You both value transparency: If you ask your customers for their SSN, birthdate and mother’s maiden name, be open and honest about how you intend to use the information. 
  3. You build everything on trust: Follow through on all your promises to establish and nurture trust. 
  4. You’re invested in each other’s happiness: Once you’ve earned a customer’s loyalty, that customer will often root for you too, whether it’s by giving you a five-star Yelp review or upping their free membership to an annual paid subscription.
  5. Your relationship is always evolving: Businesses need to be willing to take big risks to keep their customers interested. If they’re also willing to be transparent about it throughout the process, customers will sincerely appreciate their efforts to keep the relationship growing — even if they sometimes fail. 
  6. You inspire each other: Earn your customer’s loyalty every day by keeping them genuinely engaged.  When your customers genuinely love using your product or service, there’s no greater support you’ll ever find to fuel your company’s growth.
  7. You make having fun the priority: The world is littered with failed relationships that grew far too dour, serious and boring. Think of a brand like Zappos, which aims to make its customers smile through its unique brand of contact center training. By ensuring that your customers enjoy engaging with you, you’ll enjoy the relationship too.
  8. You both benefit from a shared history: Today’s omnichannel customer experience leverages the power of shared history to continually remind customers why a company that knows them better than anyone else is a company worth staying with for life.
  9. You’re committed to a shared vision of the future: Every customer journey has to be informed by a clear sense of where a company and a customer are going together, and that shared vision needs to be reinforced at every step of the way.