My parents told me, I told my children, and I suspect they will tell their children two magic words. In the United States, during this time of year, these words play prominently in family gatherings. The good news is the magic of these words extends well beyond family relationships, so let me use them in relation to you – since you have been kind enough to engage with this blog (and possibly others throughout the year).
Thank you for sharing one of your most valuable resources – your time. Let’s do a quick recap of the science of appreciating customers and then get down to business.
Researchers have shown that up to 60% of customers who leave a business felt that the company did not care about them beyond a transaction.
Customers aren’t looking for gifts to prove you care. They simply want genuine appreciation for their business. Most of us have felt underappreciated by a company that we have supported. Given the overall lack of gratitude expressed by most companies, being consistently grateful helps company’s standout from the crowd.
Finally, practicing gratitude makes one more grateful and empirically which has been linked to a higher level of subjective well-being – which is a fancy research way of saying being grateful makes us happier.
So let’s get to the action.
Earlier I used the phrase practicing gratitude. I truly see the activity as a learnable skill. While some people are innately positive and grateful, others need to approach appreciation as a smart goal. Just as you would create any other goal, it’s important to set realistic, measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives.
From the standpoint of realism, how about identifying five people a week that you want to appreciate?
Think about a variety of ways that you can express gratitude such as thank you notes, a quick call, a token gift, or a supportive gesture.
Once a day for the next week pick a method and apply it to one of those five people. At the end of the week, identify a new list of five people and practice again. After about a month you’ll have a new habit. The real magic that comes from developing an attitude of gratitude is its self-perpetuating nature.
Melody Beattie said it well, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
I will add to Melody’s observation by suggesting that gratitude unlocks the fullness of customer experience and turns an impersonal business into a caring partner in the life of your customers.