I’m currently caught in a cycle with this online registration forum that is quite frustrating. Once I attempt to register one of our clients with this pretty valuable forum, I receive an error message that says there’s a mysterious problem and to contact a representative through email or by phone.
Caught up in the excitement of actually being able to cross tasks off my lengthy list, I emailed the necessary person and waited what I imagined was a reasonable amount of time. Within 24 hours, I received two emails in response to my inquiry. The first asked for more information regarding my account, which I could understand. The second one stated that my account had been reinstated with a new password (included in the email) and to thank me for my time on the phone.
I hadn’t spent any time on the phone with anyone from this registration forum, which isn’t to say that somebody else at Verticalwerks hadn’t talked with a representative; however, I hadn’t heard anything to that effect. Plus, when I tried to login, the “correct” password that the email stated was now mine actually didn’t work at all, and when I finally logged in, I received the same error message as before.
So the cycle continues. And I don’t feel confident that it will be resolved anytime soon.
The two divergent emails – and the increase in my blood pressure and frustration levels – led me to reflect on gratitude as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, and not in the usual warm-and-fuzzy way but from the perspective of someone who works in a small business. I think it’s pretty safe to say that practicing an attitude of gratitude all year long with our customers will set us apart from the competition.
Gratitude Protects Perspective
Remember when we could save money in our IRA accounts and see it build over time? So do I.
I think the last time I looked at my account statements and saw significant growth might have been 2007 – since then, it’s been treading water. But you know what? I’m pretty grateful to see that the money I put into my accounts has actually stuck around, not to mention any growth at all at this point.
That’s the thing about life – often we need something negative to happen in order to show gratitude for what we already have. What if we put a grateful attitude first, before anything bad needed to happen?
In the daily grind and rush and worry, it can be easy to forget about the people who form our client base. Instead of worrying so much about growth rates, take some time to appreciate clients who have stuck with you and your business up to this point. Is there a way to invest in these people as you practice gratitude during the course of business? This change in perspective will help build the relationships with people already in your life, inspiring their confidence and trust in you.
Gratitude Builds Loyalty
I recently received some very positive feedback on a couple of different tasks that I had completed here at work, not necessarily knowing at the time if I had been on the right track. Although I am inherently suspicious (as a rule – it’s a bit of a character flaw), both emails that I received regarding my success made me feel…happy.
They were simple “thank you” emails which probably took a few minutes to write, but this simple, quick investment in gratitude will pay long-term dividends when it comes to my personal and professional loyalty.
What simple acts of thanks can you extend toward your customers to show that you’re grateful for their business? Remember that even though it doesn’t take a lot of time, showing gratitude will help cement your business in the minds of your customers, inspiring loyalty that no price point or advertising message can achieve.
Gratitude Lays a Foundation of Forgiveness
Like the big registration forum and the vicious cycle I’m caught in, mistakes are made sometimes, regardless of the size of your business.
It could be that your response to a mistake won’t matter nearly as much as the foundation you’ve already built with your customers, partly through showing gratitude.
A consistent attitude of gratitude when serving your customers builds patterns of behavior that they will come to expect. When, for whatever reason, a mistake has been made, your clients are more likely to give you that all-important and wildly valuable kind of forgiveness called, “the benefit of the doubt.” This kind of grace grows over time out of a long-term relationship, built partly out of appreciation and gratitude.
Maybe the big registration forum has its wires crossed, and the vicious cycle of logging in and error messages will be cleared up in a couple of days. I will be grateful, but I will also be reminded of the kind of personal attention and gratitude required to build – and keep – relationships with our clients.
Kelly Wilson is a project coordinator for Verticalwerks Interactive Media. What’s your story? Let Verticalwerks help you share it with the world.