A great many things are taken for granted these days, foremost among them are our please and thank-yous. Like so many things these common courtesies seem to be deemed necessary only for family and special occasions. Fortunately in the service industry there is still an unwritten expectation of at least a parting thank-you, but even then it often is overlooked.
Herein lies the problem: as soon as we frame the discussion of courtesy in terms of expectation and entitlement we immediately see fingers get pointed and blame assigned. Everyone has reached the door first and had to make that split second decision to either hold the door and wait or press on through and hope that stranger behind you catches the door while its still a little bit open. The rule of thumb would seem to be the further out of the way you go for someone else the more they ought to feel obliged to offer their thanks. So if you hold the door when this stranger is right on your heels you haven’t really put yourself out. But if you hold it for a few minutes for someone juggling an armload of groceries then thats a different story.
As strange as it may sound the ‘Thank-you’ you expect means usually means less to you than the one you do not. It is always nice to know when something you have done is appreciated, even if it is something trivial. In this day and age we have all taken advantage of the wonderful world of online shopping. For the a given shop it is an easy way to reach a larger market, and for the customer it is extremely convenient in all sorts of ways. A few weeks ago I purchased some clothing on sale from Lands End Canvas and to me it was just like any other purchase. A week later I received my package in the mail, much like any other, and I thought nothing of it. A week later, there was a personally addressed, hand written thank-you note waiting in my mailbox. This is not something we see very often and it certainly sets these guys apart from the rest.
It may seem small, but this gesture has had me re-think the way in which I go about my day to day business and re-think the way in which I complete what seem to be menial tasks in order to create exceptional connections with individuals and businesses alike. Consider this: Two people are applying for a job, both received an interview. Which of the two is more likely to be considered for their ability to see the communication through to the end. The one who sent the hand-written thank you card, or the one still waiting by the phone?