Small acts of kindness
I recently read a blog with 50 random acts of kindness your customers will love. It was a bit American, but it had some nuggets in there that I really liked and it made me start to think about the small kindnesses we can all deliver.
Here are some of the things I think we can do here in the UK.
1. Acknowledge communications from customers – and not just the bad ones. I recently had some really good service from Argos, which I tweeted about. In return I got a cheesy picture of The Hoff giving me a thumbs up. Stupid I know, but it made my day. Social Media is about humans, let’s not forget that, and a little acknowledgement that appeals to our humanity goes a long way.
2. Add a little extra, be it time, a couple of sweeties or a trial-size of a product. Who wouldn’t be happy with that.
3. Pay attention to what your customers say and if you speak to them again ask about their dog, their holiday or if they managed to find the perfect dress for the wedding they were going to. Nothing says “I value you” more than taking an interest.
4. Get some postcards printed and send a little handwritten thank you. It might be a customer who was patient whilst a team member was being trained or your Account Manager with a supplier who has given top-notch service. Sincere thank you’s are always welcome, but it doesn’t need to stop at a thank you; add a little cartoon, a funny verse or an amusing clipping from a magazine to cheer someone up.
5. Make sure you take the time to write reviews for other local businesses and encourage your team to do the same thing. If it’s good let’s shout about it, don’t wait for the bad service before you say something.
6. Interact with your local community, from supporting other small businesses to getting to know your neighbours. The act of kindness is in making the effort, which will not go unnoticed.
7. Be philanthropic. I’m wary of corporate CSR programmes as they reek of being more about the company’s PR than helping the people involved so if you are going to help, be consistent. Continuous support is important, not the grand gestures that will be forgotten in 2 days time. Provide assistance in whatever way you can, no matter how unglamorous. Small acts that have a huge impact.
8. Support your team. If someone is having a hard time take them for a coffee (if they want), buy ice creams for everyone on a hot day, or send everyone home early on “Sod it, it’s Friday!” day.
9. Can your business provide practical support for people who are vulnerable or need help? Offering free dry cleaning to homeless people if they have a job interview, inviting older people to an open-house session so that you can help them send emails or deal with their household bills, provide quiet space for kids to do homework. There’s so many things that can be done, that will cost you nothing.
10. And if none of the above is your cup of tea, then try food. Hand out chocolates, provide free tea and coffee, pay for the order of the person queuing in front of you, take some cakes to the people manning the charity stall in the town centre. You might feel weird about doing it. The person on the receiving end might think you’re weird … but they sure as heck will remember you.