Can you imagine a company with a motto of "Be mean"? Of course not. But the absence of a strong mission statement and campaign intended to create a nice culture will, by default, create a mean one. If you're not consciously and actively choosing and pursuing "Be nice" in your organization, then by default, you're choosing "Be mean." You can't hang out somewhere in the middle. There's not much gray area here, nor is there room for a wishy-washy, spineless resolve like, "We're pretty nice, sometimes, when we have to be."
I believe that all organizations, companies, businesses and stores must consciously and actively adopt and promote the beliefs and practices of being nice. When it comes to the workplace, every organization should make "Be nice" their marketing campaign, boardroom strategy, staff training theme, and customer promise. "Be nice" should be part of your company's mission statement and vision, a focus for your staff holiday party, and a philanthropic promise to your community. It will increase staff morale and loyalty, improve customer service, and at the same time increase profits. Why? Because customers will spend a lot of money with a company that's nice. The company that embraces a nice culture has a major competitive edge. "Be nice" is not just a platitude, it's good business.
A company or organization that conveys the opposite of being nice, or even settles for "Be unsympathetic, uncaring, heartless, unconcerned, insensitive, or indifferent" can sit back and watch staff loyalty diminish and profits decrease. A good friend of mine who's also a successful attorney recently planned a dinner party in her home for a large group of friends and business associates. She ordered engraved invitations, flowers, catering, live music, a car valet, and more. As my friend made arrangements with business after business, she noticed that some of her experiences were pleasurable and some were not. She said that the painstaking process of ordering the invitations -- choosing the paper, the font, the color of the ink -- was a wonderful and fun experience, whereas the simple, onetime visit to the bakery to order gourmet desserts she experienced an awful, "how dare you interrupt my day" type feeling from the bakery employee. With which company do you think my friend will continue doing business?
A couple of years ago, I overheard one of my new staff members on the phone being impatient and a bit rude. When I told him to be fun and nice on the phone, his comment was, "I usually am, but I'm really busy right now." I thought, What does being busy have to do with being nice? How much extra time does it take to change the tone of your voice, so people know they're dealing with someone who is nice?
Make no mistake, your customers are attracted to you more by your enthusiasm than by your marble floors; more by your cheerful disposition and love for what you do than by your sleek business cards; more by your company standards for respecting human beings than by your multimillion-dollar advertising campaign. When you make "Be nice" a daily priority, your business will reap the rewards.
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