As a child, I remember after every birthday, holiday, or other special occasion, I was required to write a note expressing my gratitude for any gifts I received.
I still do this today – not out of obligation, but instead with a sense of appreciation. I am thankful that people who love me took the time to send something of value to me.
A book by two Notre Dame social scientists called, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose, concluded that, “… the more generous Americans are, the more happiness, health, and purpose in life they enjoy. Generous practices actually create enhanced personal well-being.”
There is something about giving that impacts both the recipient and the giver.
Conversely, I have given many a gift or donated time with little to no recognition of my effort or financing. At times, I have found these experiences disheartening.
As I pondered why my reactions varied between situations, it became clear that the key is in the relationship and the reception.
How we receive gifts and demonstrate our gratitude conveys a powerful message. It either validates the relationship with the giver or devalues it.
Take this concept and put it into the realm of your business life. Are you a grateful person or do you take for granted the things others do or give to benefit you?
Are you building relationships or weakening them through your response to others’ gifts of time, money or effort?
How does this overflow into the persona of your business? Do your employees feel valued and appreciated? Your customers? Your communities?
Every business has a reputation within the communities and circles that they operate. When a business does not consider the impact that its actions or lack of action has on those communities, reputations are often damaged and relationships injured. This is why some businesses are in need for brand or reputation management help from PR professionals, like those at PRworks.
Yet, when businesses think of their communities and contributors with a mindset of gratitude, relationships are nearly always strengthened. When courtesy is shown, a phone call made, a thank you note received, recipients feel valued and appreciated and are more likely to reciprocate.
For example, consider the experience consumers have at Chick-fil-A versus most other fast food chains. Chick-fil-A employees are trained to go above and beyond to help a guest, to deliver their meals, and to respond to guests’ thanks with, “My pleasure!” I always leave Chick-fil-A feeling like a valued customer because I have received courtesy and thanks from their employees. So, I return again and again (and again, my husband would add!).
As you consider the framework that you and your business operate from, evaluate ways you can show gratitude to build customer loyalty and appreciation.
Identify means with which you can grow and strengthen relationships that are different from our cultural norms of a thumbs up or short text or email. Perhaps a hand-written thank you note, meaningful email, or a well-thought out phone call will accomplish more.
Take a few minutes a day to practice gratitude and help foster feelings of importance in those who matter to you. It will benefit both you and your business.