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Survival of the nicest
Sei Mani insight
Survival of the nicest by Elina Oost, 6th September 2017
My grandfather owned a garage and he was proudly determined to look after his customers. To him, service was everything, and in his eyes, a good reputation enabled him to hold his head high when he walked through town.
He used to tell me ‘the customer is king, you have to do all it takes to help and satisfy your customers’. So the bottom line, when a car left the garage, was not that it was fixed in the opinion of the mechanic, but that it was fixed, clean and working perfectly in the eyes of the customer. They had to be delighted with the whole experience, both the car and the human interaction, even if it was only a small job.
His parents had been servants in a wealthy household, his mother was a cook and his father the chauffeur. And so he’d been raised to understand service, and he transferred this knowledge to his own business. To him, satisfied customers enabled you to earn a living and grow a business, and he was inwardly compelled to treat customers with respect.
Today it seems we’re all slaves to time and numbers, and quantity is often put ahead of quality. Many think that being nice is a sign of weakness and that giving something extra to others may put you at a disadvantage, and somehow diminish you in their eyes. I don’t agree. This quote sums up why survival of the nicest is a good strategy.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.” (anon)
Lack of care
And so we experience a lack of care everywhere. I know a shop in my hometown where if you ask for a certain item, you’ll be told in an unfriendly way that ‘if it is not on the shelves, we don’t have it’.
When I worked on a helpdesk, the same people were always moaning that they’d got the ‘stupid line’ again. They’d constantly complain about the stupidity of callers and their unreasonable behaviour. Technical help and support people can be so immersed in the detail that they can’t imagine what its like to not be in that detail. They forget that they live with something every day, and their lack of empathy and understanding for others can be staggering.
In our fake world of pseudo-caring, it’s often the loudest and boldest that get what they want, and the ethos of genuinely caring for people has become archaic… or has it?
Our Genius Desk takes service back to basics. A place where we listen to people and find out what they really need, whether that’s technical help, reassurance, or just ‘hand-holding’ through it step by step. We don’t clock watch either, so if someone needs help outside of working hours it’s never an issue for us.
By truly caring for people’s needs and feelings, and having empathy for the people we help, we’ve differentiated ourselves in a market driven by numbers – and that’s why people come back to us, again and again.
It’s in your music
I believe that some people have personality traits that enjoy helping people. Often as I’m helping people there are two songs running through my head, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ from Mary Poppins and ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.
Maybe it’s the thoughts, beliefs, and music we hold inside us as we work, that shows how we value others. What’s running through your head as you interact with people?