Peter Shankman Says Being Nice Works. He’s Right.

It’s been quite a day. I sat down at my desk full of enthusiasm. I love my work. To the point that it is sometimes indistinguishable from what I do for fun.

Streaming Natalie Maine’s new CD via NPR, digging into great stuff created by other people who graciously share it with me so I can become better at what I do, a calendar that (for once) shows nothing scheduled for the next three hours. Work and fun have just become indisinguishable.
Great stuff on deck today:
·         Jonathan Fields Good Life Project “Christian Howes: From Jail To Jazz Legend
·         Peter Shankman’s “Today’s Profits Come From Being Nice
·       Wired’s post on tagging people in photos, a new feature they just rolled out this week (including a trip outside to “practice” this by taking photos during a long evening walk).
Oh. Wait.
First the (now) weekly follow-up up phone call about a problem my mother has been having in the five weeks since leaving the nursing home where she has resided for the last three years. One quick diversion to address that issue and then back to work that’s fun.
One quick phone call that turns into yet another morning of poor customer service, blaming and otherwise refusing to address a problem that’s been allowed to go on for five weeks.  Now I’m frustrated (Again. Scratch that. Still.), no closer to solving the problem, and well on my way to inadvertently understanding enough about the nursing home care system that I could probably run a nursing home myself .
Enthusiasm gone. Replaced by irritation bordering on anger when confronted with yet another unproductive series of conversations with a facility in the business of caring for those who can no longer care for themselves.
Ok, Aim. They day is still young-ish. Natalie is only looping for the third time. Circle back around to your original plan for the day: Digging into good stuff by great people. Skip to #2 on today’s list, Peter Shankman’s “Today’s Profits Come From Being Nice” (which suddenly appeals to me for a completely different reason).
Being nice. You’d think that’s a no-brainer but after the morning I’ve just had, I’m willing to go on record as saying it isn’t.
Mr. Shankman points out in his post that “As a society, we expect horrible customer service. We expect to be treated like crap. We expect the fast food company to get our order wrong. We expect the dry cleaners not to have our clothing when they say they will. The bar has been set so low in recent years, it’s actually below-ground.” The nursing home’s level of customer care is so poor that I truly dread calling them. I’d say that qualifies as low expectations.
He goes on to suggest that “all you have to do is revamp your customer service to be one level above horrible”.  My interactions with this nursing home suggest that isn’t hard at all.
And then comes the really good stuff: “Essentially, you’re training your customer service team to be empowered to do create small little moments of awe”, Instead of dragging this out for five weeks, making me follow up over and over and over only to be given a new set of excuses each time, why not create that “little moment of awe” by allowing staff to root out the answer to my original question and just offer it up?
Mr. Shankman goes on to give examples of these “little moments of awe” including one first-hand experience that illustrates how something that costs next-to-nothing can result in a significant ROI. His post ends with the following thought:  “More than ever, consumers have the ability to choose with whom they want to do business. And with those choices being made more and more from the recommendations of those within our personal networks, the chances of maintaining the old school “they’ll get it the way we like it” mentality and still keeping your customers is growing slimmer by the day.” Had the nursing home considered this first it would never have gotten to the point that we felt she was better served in a different facility and wouldn’t have resulted in the current customer service predicament in which they now find themselves.
Today’sProfits Come From Being Nice”. Yes. Yes they do.
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