"Kindness is the life's blood, the elixir of marriage. Kindness makes the difference between passion and caring. Kindness is tenderness. Kindness is love, but perhaps greater than love … Kindness is good will. Kindness says, "I want you to be happy." Kindness comes very close to the benevolence of God."
--- Randolph Ray
I've done a quick study of area businesses over the past six months. The businesses vary from lawn service to sign making, from physicians to restaurants, and from car dealerships to roofers, and many more in between.
Without failure, the most successful of all of these were the businesses that practiced old-fashion, common sense kindness. Not the fake, glued-on TV talk show host type of kindness either, but genuine "I'm glad you're a customer" type of kindness.
"Good manners have much to do with the emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them."
--- Amy Vanderbilt
You've been to the business or phoned the ones that place a barely functioning cadaver on the front line to greet you. Usually it is not much of a greeting. You are lucky to understand their mumbling and rarely will they make eye contact with you. Don't expect a smile, a thank you or any additional assistance above the minimum.
As sad as this is, those responsible for putting this depressing, poor excuse for a slug in a position to take up valuable office real estate should be to blame for any lack of success the business will experience.
"Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from."
--- Honoré De Balzac
Proactively seeking individuals who possess common courtesies should be at the top of your list when hiring. They may be blessed with the skills and talents that your company desires, but if they can't do something as simple as say "You're welcome" when someone says "Thank you", then you don't need them. You can teach the skills.
"Manners are of more importance than laws.... Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in."
--- Edmund Burke
Hiring people who know common courtesies will put you so much farther ahead of your competitors. But, if you already have people in place and they don't know the basics, then teach them. Even if you have to buy everyone on your team a book on etiquette… do it! Make sure they know the basics on how to treat your customers.
"Kindness, nobler ever than revenge."
--- William Shakespeare
Here are some basics: Smile, say yes ma'am and no sir, ask "How may I help you?", make eye contact, do what it takes to please the customer, listen, return phone calls, do what you say you will do, and speak clearly.
These are just a few. Want more? Make a list of things that bother you in regards to customer service when you are about to give your hard-earned money for a service or product. Think about how you want to be treated and how if you were treated a certain way, you would come back to that business.
"Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices."
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Make the effort to let everyone in on the truth: Your business will not exist without customers. Treat them with respect. Don't' follow where much of American business is heading. Instead, write above the entrance to your shop that "Customer is King" and believe it.
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In front of a junkyard in North Carolina
"Drive Reckless! It helps business!"
At a auto repair shop in Milwaukee
"Try us once and you'll never go anywhere again"
In a mechanics shop in Bowling Green, KY:
"We guarantee fast service. No matter how long it takes."
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