We’re all familiar with random acts of kindness (RAK) or the delivery of unprovoked thoughtfulness. In reality, you can’t instruct employees to perform random acts of kindness, because, by definition, random acts are, well, random.
You can make kindness part of your company culture and make employees aware they not only have your permission but are encouraged to perform such actions. In my experience, it’s always appropriate to be thoughtful.
A HELPING HAND
Recently, I was driving home near a rather busy intersection and saw one of our trucks parked in a no parking area on a busy street, and the driver was nowhere to be seen. Naturally, I was concerned but as I was headed in the opposite direction amidst a great deal of traffic, I chose not to turn around. Looking up, I caught a glimpse of our company uniform. The employee was assisting an elderly man get up from the middle of the street. I immediately called our service manager, who replied she was already aware of the situation.
It turns out our service technician, who happened to be sitting at the intersection waiting for the light to change, saw the man attempt to put a sign in the ground. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the man fell. As a result, our service technician pulled over and rushed to assist the man out of the street before anything more serious occurred. It turned out the man was not badly injured and was able to resume his day.
In today’s world, many people would have driven right on by, but we were extremely proud of this technician’s thoughtfulness. He stopped and helped when he didn’t have to.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
During a regular maintenance check, while a technician was washing a reusable furnace filter, he recognized the surface seemed too wet to put back in the furnace. So, he put a paper filter in its place and showed the elderly homeowner how to replace the paper filter with the reusable filter when it was dry. A few days later, he got a call to return to the home. The wife answered the door and asked, “What direction does the air filter go in?” Knowing that the woman’s husband, for health reasons, could not replace the filter, the service technician said, “Let me just put it in for you.” Then, to show even more thought, since the cleanable filters can be quite a bit of work for anyone to install, he gave her a few paper filters, free of charge. After showing her how to put them in, he assured her the gifted filters would last her until her next checkup. These are the kinds of RAK we want our employees to perform.
More times than not, we are sincerely thoughtful in regards to our customers.
I always make sure I carry a pen and paper anytime I am out. I do this because I have found that nearly every time I am out I will run into someone who gives me a compliment regarding an installation or service we have provided. Often, they even mention the name or give a description of the person who provided the service. As quickly afterward as possible — yes, it has to be quickly because this old mind doesn’t retain information as long as it once did — I will write down the name of the person giving the compliment and the name of the person who provided the service. As soon as I return to the office, I go to that respective department and pass the individual’s name on to the manager and encourage the supervisor to share the sentiment. Then, I get the full name and address of the person giving the compliment and personally send him or her a letter thanking him or her for acknowledging our service as well as that of (name of person who served). I personally write and sign these notes. I feel if a person can go out of his or her way to acknowledge our performance, we should thank them, as well.
Another thing we do is send a personal “Thank You” to everyone for whom we have made a replacement installation within the last year. We send them just before Thanksgiving because if we send them in December, we’re concerned they’ll get lost in the year-end, holiday shuffle. Again, on these letters, I not only sign each one personally, but I look at the name, and if it is someone I know personally, which it often is, I put an additional personal note thanking him or her for letting us provide service.
One other thing I do, which I believe shows thoughtfulness, is I send a personal hand-written birthday card to each one of our employees. In the card, I make some mention of appreciation for his or her particular contribution to the company so that it doesn’t appear to be form written.
In summary, random acts of kindness and being thoughtful to both customers and employees goes a long way in making a business successful.
Publication date: 9/12/2016