Kindness is king


I ran across an oh-so-simple yet profound piece of marketing advice from Anna Farmery. She focuses her talents on helping businesses transition to a “new social model” of service delivery. Her blog and podcast, The Engaging Brand, are among the most popular in the UK.

“Social is kindness; kindness in marketing, sales, leadership and everything in between,” Farmery writes.

Now before you roll your eyes and brace for the rainbows, unicorns and puppies, step away from your role as a business owner or non-profit practitioner. Become the customer and donor. You wear the customer hat daily in your personal life, so this shouldn’t be a stretch.

Good customer service, whether for profit or non profit, attracts attention. It’s true there’s a Starbucks pretty much on every street corner in Louisville, but after three times of receiving incorrect orders because staff were too busy trying to sell me additional products, there is one shop that hasn’t gotten any of my money for years.

Every phone call, email, post, letter and personal interaction has a life of its own. Never get so busy that you fail to consider your message from your target audience’s viewpoint.

A gracious Chick-fil-A worker and a decidedly ungracious and unwise customer provide a dramatic object lesson. Not only did Adam Smith video himself ranting at a Chick-fil-A drive-through worker, he posted his tantrum on YouTube. He lost his job the same day, and now two years later, he’s still out of work and is feeding his family with food stamps.

Smith’s rudeness is one component to the story, but many comments on social media focused on the restaurant worker’s patient and gracious demeanor maintained during what must have been an extremely upsetting encounter. Her last message to Smith before he pulls away from the window is, “It’s my pleasure to serve you.”

As someone who often works head down and eyes forward, I need to remind myself as much as anyone that going the extra mile for donors and customers, and doing so with a smile on your face, can pay all sorts of dividends.

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