For the past week I have put my business books on the shelf in favor of books about kindness. Books with titles like; Random Acts of Kindness: How to Make it a Better World, Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think and Act in Kindness and Hope Kind Love: Channel Kindness, that last one co-authored by Lady Gaga!
By now you must be wondering if I’ve gone gaga myself or turned into what one political party calls members of the other party when they really want to insult them, “A Do Gooder.” That’s a term that I have never quite understood being categorized as an insulting term. In fact, yes I do consider myself a proud “Do Gooder.”
But no, that is not the reason I am reading these books at this time. It’s because our church’s stewardship campaign this year is based on kindness, random acts of kindness to be exact and as head of the finance committee it is my job to learn as much about kindness as I can.
These books are chock full of acts of kindness as witnessed by real people. These acts run the gambit from paying for the next person’s coffee at the Dunkin’ drive thru, to donating a kidney. From mowing an old woman’s lawn to leaving a hundred dollar tip for a cup of coffee, to buying someone a house, (yes buying someone a house.) Actually, this is all pretty inspiring stuff. And reading these books about how people are helping people does make one think.
But, as I always do with everything I read, I started applying some of these acts of kindness to business, and I started thinking about what it would mean to businesses if more of us would perform acts of kindness in our business life.
And it came to me in a flash: great customer service is caring about the customer enough to be kind to them and performing random acts of kindness.
This entails finding ways to be kind. If there is one thing these kindness books have shown me is that people who perform kindness are empathetic, and yes, they are creative, but most of all, the most important thing is they are opportunistic, they look for ways to be kind, they look for creative ways to help people. And of course, they are actors in the true sense of the word. The “act,” they don’t think about doing something for days before they do it, they act on impulse, the impulse of helping people.
Now think about that, what if we were all so inclined, so practiced in the art of helping people, how great our service would be, not just the folks in customer service but everyone in the company.
- What if your salespeople were always looking for ways to help their customers? Not just the basic service that every good salesperson has to perform to get business, but it went beyond business to caring for their customers to the point of looking for ways to help them.
- What if your engineers were always looking for extraordinary ways to build your customer’s products. What if they through acts of kindness found ways to make their product better and better?
- What if your quality team sought ways to help your customers’ with kindness? What if they spent time with the customers in an honest and heartfelt effort to give them quality that went far beyond the basic specifications?
- What if your management team found ways to not only manage their teams but rather ways to help them better do their jobs? What if they took an honest heartfelt interest in the well-being of their employees, making sure they were well taken care of at all times? Making sure that they had everything they needed to do a great job?
- What if your entire company culture was based on random acts of kindness? If everyone in the company was always looking for ways to not only help your customers but more importantly one another as well?
Actually, being kind, having a mindset that is based on helping others is the ultimate form of great customer service. Having people who want to help other people in any way that they can is the quality we are all looking for in our vendors and suppliers.
Think about how good you feel as a customer when someone you are buying something from treats you with kindness. Think about how good you feel when you know that your supplier is looking out for you, that she cares about you and wants to give you the very best products and services she can. It feels great doesn’t it?
It feels so good, and you are so grateful that you want to go tell other people about what a great supplier you have! Not only that, you want to buy from them over and over again, just to get that great feeling back.
In the end, acts of intentional kindness will lead to an exceptional customer experience, which will drive your company to market leadership. It’s only common sense.