It was a gentle rebuke. It was delivered softly by the delivery of one of my most loyal employees, but it was a rebuke non the less. She told me that when she came up to my desk to visit with me and I kept typing or writing or looking at my work while listening to her, she felt undervalued. She told me quietly to stop what I was doing for two minutes, look at her face to face while she spoke and give her my undivided attention. She said this would make her feel like what she had to say mattered to me. I will never forget that conversation. We so often think showing our gratitude means writing a thank you note or giving a gift card. But a thankful spirit can manifest itself in some unconventional ways as well. There are some unique yet practical ways we can practice a grateful spirit in our business life which can help in our efforts to build a thriving culture.
Thank Your Customers
There are hundreds of thousands of choices and options for our customers. Just google “local coffee shop” or “best women’s clothing store in town” and you will be presented with dozens of options to choose from. Reminding our employees and ourselves that every time a customer chooses to walk through our doors, or visit us on line, they are choosing to do so. They don’t have to and in fact there are many other options for them as well. It is our customers who write our paychecks. Showing them we are grateful for their business by offering them the very best customer experience ever single time they do business with us is the best way to show them we are grateful.
Thank Your Employees
You don’t always have to give things away or hand out money, a kind or thoughtful word can be just as powerful as a gift. Another powerful way to show thankfulness is to give undivided attention when a team members wants to communicate. Stop what you are doing, look into the eyes of the person talking to you and listen to understand, not to answer. Let those communicating with you know you value your time as much as your own and you care about what they have to say. There is no better way to truly show your gratefulness to another team member than to value what they have to say by truly engaging in their conversation with you.
Thank Your Partners
Have you ever stopped to think that vendors and suppliers are your partners in business? Have a good supplier or vendor you can trust to deliver your product or service on time and without problems is invaluable. Having a vendor that you constantly have to chase down for information, who doesn’t communicate well during problems, or who ships damaged inventory or incorrect products can quickly cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. . In small business we often forget that our vendors and suppliers are our partners too. We need trust in our relationship with them in order for us to effectively build our business and customer base. Don’t just let your relationship with your vendors and suppliers be a transnational one. Do not take a great vendor relationship for granted. Talk to your trusted vendors or suppliers and ask them how you can deepen your partnership. Can you refer other customers to them? Can you work with them on a special product that would showcase both their product and your brand? Offer ideas that show you care about the relationship and are thankful for the business they do with you.
Think outside the box and outside of the traditional thank you note when it comes to showing an attitude of gratitude in your business.