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Can Kindness Boost Your Business?


Kindness and business aren't generally words you would expect to find in the same sentence, but more and more companies are gaining brand awareness, loyalty, better relationships and more productive workforces.

What's the magic ingredient? Showing kindness. Not just to customers, employees matter too.

Kindness to Customers

Companies such as KLM and Warehouse have run kindness campaigns which have increased their social media mentions and likes noticeably (i.e. brand awareness). During the Icelandic volcano eruption when numerous flights were being diverted and cancelled, staff at airline KLM selected eight Twitter followers who were feeling low, or they felt were in need of a break, and gave them a free return flight to Amsterdam. The campaign resulted in an increase of 784 followers for KLM's UK Twitter feed and arguably boosted the opinion of the airline industry when customers were facing travel chaos.

Staff at clothes store Warehouse ran a campaign on Twitter and Facebook to reward loyalty by choosing a customer each day in need of a pick-me-up and sending them a free item of clothing. What was the result? A 12% increase in the number of social media fans during that month, more than double the normal rate, and Warehouse's mentions on Twitter increased 13-fold.

How Does it Work?

Adam Grant, the youngest tenured professor at Wharton Business School and author of 'Give and Take', tells us that today success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. His research shows that at work, most people operate as takers, matchers, or givers. The takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, whilst givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Grant's research shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success and although some givers get exploited and burn out, others are actually the most successful, even more so than the takers.

Acts of kindness can make you feel better and more positive in yourself. If you perform an act of kindness as simple as smiling at someone as you walk along the street, this can have a "pass it on" effect and they will be more inclined to smile at the next person they see and so on. Smiles are contagious, and positivity in general, is contagious. A great story comes from one local toy seller who happened to see a Facebook comment from a lady complaining that her nine year old daughter's birthday present had been lost in the post.  He tracked her down and sent her daughter a cuddly bunny with a note saying "Sorry Royal Mail let you down; hopefully this will put a smile on your little girl's face." And her mum was completely bowled over by his kindness and will likely be a loyal customer forever

RAKs represent a major consumer trend and for customers used to distant and inflexible corporations, any act of kindness by a brand is very much appreciated. It has never been easier, with the increasingly open communication with customers online and on social media platforms, for companies to surprise and impress their audiences with anything from gifts, to just showing they care. It's so much easier to judge what is happening, or what a mood is, and react in a timely and surprising way.

Kindness to Employees

Don't forget your employees need a little kindness too. Letting them know they're appreciated can reap all kinds of benefits. Research shows that feeling appreciated - which comes from recognition from others - is one of the top three drivers of employee engagement. Forbes ran a piece by best selling author Kevin Kruse in January 25 Low-Cost Ways to Reward Employees which lists a variety of ways to let your staff know you appreciate them, from sending a personal note of thanks, to inviting them out for lunch.

It doesn't have to be elaborate, so what are you waiting for? Go out there and be kind.


0 #1 twitter followers 2014-04-10 15:45
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