Let’s all be the Thank You Economy Customer…maybe that would change the world. I guarantee it will change yours…
Thank You Economy
Sandi Maki here with heavy breathing just before midnight, thinking about the Thank You Economy today, customer service, and just the way in general that we interact with each other. I should almost have a bullet-pointed list here for me because there are so many things that I could talk about when it comes to customer service and the Thank You Economy.
We all have stories where we have gone to a business as a customer and been absolutely blown away by either the energy of the clerk who was ringing up the purchase and taking my money, or maybe the way that somebody went above and beyond to help get us to where we needed to go, to help answer our question or take care of what we were looking to do. There is an outstanding book that if you have not read, I highly, highly recommend it whether you are on the buying side of things or the selling side of things. It is called the Thank You Economy, and it is by Gary Vaynerchuck, who is also the author of Crush It. Pick it up and read it. It will help to remind you some of the things that businesses can do and different things, suggestions for just becoming better all-around doers of business and how to engage with your customers and clients and even people who aren’t your customers and clients so that we can pay it forward in a really big way. So read the book and think about things from the Thank You Economy as a business sort of way, and then in your spare time, which I am sure you have a lot of, in all of those interactions where you are a customer, let’s turn the tables and let’s figure out how to be an exceptional customer.
In one area of my dealings, I manage several different product lines, and I have end clients that I do business with and I also have suppliers that I do business with, and I need those suppliers in order to give exceptional customer service to my customers. I also need to be an exceptional customer to my suppliers. There are a lot of dynamics in every business that help to dictate how things are facilitated. In one particular business that I am aware of, it is a very seasonal business so things ramp up very quickly in the spring and then they are busy again a little bit in the fall, and in the summer maybe there is a little bit of lag time in between, but if you can imagine, the most stressful time of the business are those spring ramp-up times when everybody wants everything right now, and no matter how good a company is or how many systems they have in place, when you go from a demand of almost nothing to a demand of 150% of your capacity, some things are just going to be a little bit harder to handle than others, so what I have adopted as a personal philosophy and I have encouraged a lot of people that I deal with to do as well is become that exceptional customer. Whether you are having a great customer service experience from a company or if it leaves something to be desired, you have as much control over that situation as does the company or the person providing the service. You can choose as the customer to be incredibly understanding of the things that are happening. You can choose to show your appreciation for what people are doing, whether or not it is meeting your expectations, and here’s the secret with this: As you show the appreciation to the people in the companies that are trying to help you and you are applauding their efforts whether or they are absolutely perfect or not, what you begin to see is better customer service, because when somebody is doing the very best that they can whether it is good enough or not, and hopefully it’s a whole notch above good enough, maybe it is a notch below exceptional and they are doing everything that they can, everything in their power to make sure that you have a good experience, be thankful for that and ask them for what they can do and then appreciate it. Show the appreciation. I will often when I am running some of those errands and interacting with some of my vendors, if there is a cookie shop, I will stop and pick up a little box of cookies or if it is cupcakes or maybe just a little something that you can bring in with you that says, you know this completely has nothing to do with what we are doing, but I just wanted to show you that I appreciate you as a person here trying to help me with whatever this is. The secret is that your service improves and your relationship with that vendor, with that company, improves. This does go both ways, and it goes without saying in the business world that as a company, we should be doing this for our clients, but I really believe that as a client, we should be doing it for our companies. That is definitely a way. If you become the customer who is understanding, who excels in communication when something is not quite to your satisfaction, you take the time of making the phone call with a very friendly tone to say “I am not completely thrilled with the way that this happened, and I wanted to let you know about it.” If you approach things in that way and can increase that bond of communication, whoever that is at the other end, everything is bound to improve. If you, no matter which side of the coin you are on, approach things with the demanding, obnoxious, I’m really upset here and everybody’s going to know about it, most of the time that is going to serve you in the opposite way. Sure, things happen. Maybe sometimes we are thrilled and maybe sometimes we are extremely frustrated. You have to approach both of the feedback in those situations in the same positive and gratitude-based way to be able to create long-lasting, long-term, awesome and excellent relationships. If you approach it with anything other than that, I think you are just setting yourself up for more of the theme of disappointment.
So Sandi’s life lesson for today, which is something that I strive to live by so that no matter which side of a relationship on with me, know that I am doing my best to bring it from a grateful, thankful, appreciative, and let’s celebrate our interaction frame of thought. That is where I always try to come from. I am human. It does not always happen that way. Sometimes I can be as frustrated as the next person, especially when I might be an intermediary between a vendor and a client, and maybe it’s not anything that I did that has delayed the process, but when I am the one that has to make that phone call to that client on the other end the way that I handle that and the way that I convey that to the client is a very important thing indeed, so know that I am trying. I work on this every day, and the more people that I come across that frame things in this attitude and the more that you start to frame things with this attitude, I think the more the entire thank you-driven business economy will benefit.
So until next time, find somebody that you can say thank you to with genuine appreciation and then find somebody else and then watch and observe just how much your world becomes a kinder, gentler, and prettier place by taking that approach.