During high school and university I worked in a menswear store. Every Christmas, a woman would come in shopping for her son. She did not speak English very well and I suspect writing in English presented some challenges.
I would help her pick something out for her son and when it came time to complete her purchase she would hand over her checkbook for me to fill it out for her and she would sign it. Obviously, this was before debit machines became prevalent.
I saw her every Christmas for years. Sometimes, her son would join her after the holidays if what she bought for him needed to be exchanged for a different size. You could tell how proud she was of him and how important getting him a nice Christmas gift was to her. For him, he knew that I took care of his mother when others might have taken advantage of the situation and for that he was grateful.
I am not bringing up this part of my past for a pat on the back or anything like that. I think about it to remind myself of how simply being kind and doing my job, basically being human, affected my customer. Furthermore, it was an experience I knew firsthand.
There is no shortage of examples in the media, social or otherwise, of people being nice and of people being unkind or even evil. Unfortunately, bad news tends to win the day in terms of media coverage. They always save the two-minute heartwarming stories to close the broadcast while the rest of the half hour of news is filled with all the doom and gloom from the day.
The Business of Change
Where am I going with this? Suffice it to say that I needed to remind myself about kindness and humanity. Some may feel that this is more maudlin than you are accustomed to hearing from ArCompany and you could be right.
One thing that I have evangelized has been organizations showing their humanity. To be fair, what I really mean is that companies need to empower their employees to operate under the golden rule and treat people as they would like to be treated. Easily said but so rarely done.
The heartwarming and the hurtful get shared regularly. Anecdotes about good and bad customer service get shared and amplified. Some organizations take ownership of the situation and “win the internets” for doing so while others who act slowly or not at all get dragged through the mud.
I have beaten this drum before and I have preached to the same choir but I still feel the need to say that if being kind, awesome, or human to others can be so simple then why do so many find it so hard.
I am far from being the leader of such a movement for change but I can’t help but feel reflective after recent events online and off. Sorry if you were expecting a different post about ROI or something else but you caught me on one of those days.
As always, I welcome your comments.
A recognized senior social strategist, speaker, and blogger. He has held senior strategy roles with wireless, e-business, financial, and social CRM service providers, helping clients remain competitive by embracing social media and digital technologies.