There are two ways people think about this:
- We love our customers because they pay us money. (Inherent here is customers = money = love.)
- We love our customers, and sometimes there's a transaction.
The second is very different indeed from the first.
In the first case, customers are the means to an end, profit. In the second, the organization exists to serve customers, and profit is both an enabler and a possible side effect.
It's easy to argue that without compensation, there can be no service. Taking that to an extreme, though, working to maximize the short-term value of each transaction rarely scales. If you hoard information, for example, today your prospects will simply click and find it somewhere else. If you seek to charge above average prices for below average products, your customers will discover this, and let the world know. In a free market with plenty of information, it's very hard to succeed merely by loving the money your customers pay you.
I think it's fascinating to note that some of the most successful organizations of our time got there by focusing obsessively on service, viewing compensation as an afterthought or a side effect. As marketing gets more and more expensive, it turns out that caring for people is a useful shortcut to trust, which leads to all the other things that a growing organization seeks.
Your customers can tell.