Kind words. Acknowledgement. A big “thank you for all you do.” These are a few of the many random acts of kindness that both customers and customer service can perform to honor each other this holiday season. Then, pay it forward into the New Year.
While this is the time of year when we pause to express gratitude and give to each other, fact is that it’s critical to start doing it throughout the year. Especially now.
Random acts of kindness can be simple or substantial. More than anything, hearing positive words right now can make a person’s day, week, or even beyond.
While I’m known as the Happy Curmudgeon because of my sometimes gruff demeanor, I’ve been making extra efforts to give people kudos instead of kudon’ts wherever possible. Any time I encounter a customer service rep who clearly is making an effort to help, I compliment and acknowledge their efforts. In some cases, I forward those positive words to their manager/supervisor with a request to “do something really nice” for the rep involved.
On-site, I’ve been known to call over a manager to acknowledge someone—right in front of that person. While I can’t know what, if anything, the company will do to reward these people, generally their smile says enough.
Here’s a thought for both customers and customer service reps: Extend kind greetings and appreciation even when there is no specific customer service need. Go up to a store employee, call a customer service number.
In return, customer service reps can do something to make a customer’s day even before the customer explains their reason for reaching out. Consider this as a simple in-person gesture: Give customers a smiley button. Who can resist smiling when given this token of kindness?
On the phone, customer service reps can say kind words to the customer before addressing the reason for the call. Make sure this is sincere and heart-felt, not the typical canned comments we all hear about appreciating our business, yada, yada.
Get creative when the spirit moves you. Once in a while, bring flowers to your doctor’s office for everyone to enjoy. Or bring in a helium-filled smiley balloon. I’ve been known to buy a bunch of them for $1 apiece at Dollar Tree and hand them out to friends and neighbors. (Full disclosure: I haven’t done this for a while because of pandemic-inspired concerns, so the price may have gone up. But it’s likely still a great bargain.) Come to think of it, it’s time for me to go get some. Both kind words and deeds can make the world a better place. And when it’s done “randomly,” it’s even better. In the words of Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive…Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative…Don’t mess with Mister In-Between…You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum…
Bring gloom down to the minimum…”
Customer service presents is every bit as important this holiday season as customer service presence. Customer service needs to be present and accounted for whenever and wherever possible. But, at this particular time of this particularly challenging and anxious year, it’s time for both customers and customer service reps to give presents—in the form of kindness, understanding, and cutting people a break.Mark Lusky