Unfortunately many business leaders do not understand the importance of customer service and the human touch. At my former company something unique happened one time that reinforced this like I had never seen. Early in the company I directed the employees to put a piece or two of hard candy in the orders. At first I thought this was just a little touch that customers would receive and enjoy as a surprise–something they did not expect. What I did not expect was this quickly became a hit and customers looked forward to such a simple treat added to their order. In fact, we commonly joked about how we would hear about it on social media if we forgot to include the candy!
About a year into the business we hired a person who was a bit of an artist and one day he doodled on a customer’s order. This customer posted a picture of their order doodle on social media and it took off. Customers began to request pictures on their orders or tell jokes in the comments section of their orders. What I observed was remarkable and I had to ask myself, “Why is this such a big deal?” I then realized that this was an interaction between our customers and the employees. An interaction between two people who have never met or spoken. I realized this act told the customer AND the employee there was a human on each side of this order. Employees started to do things like recognize what was requested. I recall numerous times that customers commented about having a bad day or rough time, or even that they had lost someone and the employees would often pass the order around and write notes on it. It was an amazing touch I witnessed and one that I’ll never forget.
The same goes for supporting important causes or what some call “corporate responsibility”. I have never cared for that term because corporate responsibility doesn’t have emotion to me. The emotion, heart, and care that comes from a company is from the people. Without employees who care, a company is just a cold building with no life. Whether it’s raising money to feed the homeless or to raise money for a veteran’s organization, the people in the company and the customers that patronize it are what make the heart beat and the blood flow, allowing for emotions.
The heart of a company is an important thing to not lose. If you are not honest with your customers it will haunt you. The heart of a company is what keeps customer service levels high and customers happy. You shouldn’t strive to make customers happy, you should strive to make happy customers.