What does it cost to be nice? Some would say, “Nothing.” When it comes to people interacting with people, that’s probably true.
It’s a smile, a wave, a head nod or some other gesture. It’s a genuine “thank you” or another comment to share your appreciation for your customer. None of that has any cost associated with the idea of being nice.
I’m in the process of writing a new book. I’ll share more about that another time, but one of the chapters is entitled, “Be Nice.” That’s a great customer service strategy—just be nice! As simple as that sounds, there is a lot to being nice. I’ll share examples and ideas around being nice as the book is written, but I was recently at a friend’s home and heard a great story that will probably go in the book and is definitely worth sharing today. There’s not only a lesson here, but it’s also a heartwarming story that will make you feel good.
Almost every Saturday afternoon in the summer, I go to a barbeque hosted by my friends, Keith and Ginny Barket. Recently, someone shared a story about Keith’s father, Farris Barket.
Farris was a somewhat religious man who volunteered as an usher at his church. Every Sunday, he would help people find a good seat as they entered the church. Through this ritual, Farris befriended a young girl. One day, he said to her, “Sit down and watch this.”
A woman walked into the church, and Farris walked over to usher her to a seat. On the way, he said, “Thank you for coming. You are a pillar of our church… a pillar of our church! Thank you for coming!” His words made the woman beam with pride and happiness.
Farris sat down next to the young girl and said, “See that? I just made her day, and it didn’t cost me a dime!”
I find that story heartwarming. There was nothing on Farris’s agenda. He had no ulterior motives. He just wanted to be nice and make someone’s day, and doing that was as simple as paying a compliment.
Sometimes being nice is easy. It can be a show of respect. It can be a demonstration of politeness. It can be the sharing of a compliment, as Farris did, which makes the other person smile. It can even be as simple as your smile. When you show a little kindness, it makes someone’s day—and it doesn’t cost a thing!