Although it isn’t as easy as you may have thought
By Mark Long, director of Incubation Services at the University of Florida
Okay, this is not my traditional blog, so hold on to your hats! (You can tell I’m old, right, by these expressions? Sorry, I’ll try to bring myself up to date soon.)
Last week, I bought a couple of carbon-fiber inserts for the interior door handle section of my car. I drive an older sports car, and, apparently, the plastic the car manufacturer used way back when it was built was poor quality. Therefore, it has degraded and discolored over time.
I was delighted when I saw these beautiful, near-indestructible inserts that would cover the old plastic for a very reasonable price; so I ordered them. They were delivered promptly, and the seller even sent a follow-up email to make sure I received them.
I took them out to the car the very next day to install them, and the installation guide was VERY detailed and super easy. Just check to make sure they fit, heat them up with a hair dryer, peel off the backing, and start at the edge first, pressing firmly. Voilà! I was done in less than 5 minutes, and they look beautiful!
So, here’s where the story gets interesting.
I decided not only to write an online review, but also to write a simple email to the seller: “I am EXTREMELY pleased with your items. They look great & your directions were simple & easy to follow. It was a perfect installation, and I will order more items from you soon! Thank you.”
He wrote back right away, thanking me profusely for the email, and he said this:
“It may be hard for you to believe, but in this age of texts and ‘tell me this’ in as few words as possible, we do get requests for returns because the buyer did not read the detail of the listing or did not comprehend… We almost never hear compliments or receive emails like yours. Thank you so much for letting us know you are pleased with our product, we would like to send you a complimentary add-on to your order…”
Wow. Just, wow. Have we really become that greedy, that inconsiderate, that impersonal and that angry? We can’t take a minute out of our day to thank someone or compliment them on their service/product?
It’s been said the average U.S. citizen, today, spends at least 4 hours on their phone. If you add up everything else we typically do (on average), we spend 8.8 hours sleeping/waking; 3.6 hours working; 1.3 hours watching TV, listening to music, computing, etc. (exclusive of phone use); 1.2 hours in general household activities; 1.2 hours eating; and then 3.5 hours on miscellaneous stuff (exercising, education, etc.). That’s a total of 23.9 hours. HEY! That gives you 0.1 hour to BE NICE. Seriously. Be nice to someone.
And that goes double (or even more) for you managers out there.
For Christmas this year, my boss (the brainy guy) gave us all a new book to read (yes, he does this every year, he’s a motivational kind of person) — The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. It’s a wonderful book about recognizing different responses of appreciation for different people, and it outlines the need to make sure employees understand they are appreciated.
The book stresses that “job satisfaction is a key factor of employee retention and organizational growth.” It also discusses the statistics about how many employees feel undervalued and over-stressed in today’s workplace.
However, each of us feels appreciated in different ways. The book’s authors suggest that we each have a primary “appreciation language” that we both speak and understand. It lists words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, and physical touch as types of “appreciation language.”
(If you’ve read the original The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, you’ll recognize these five languages. To be clear, the “appreciation language” of physical touch is “touchy,” and the authors merely “touch” on it and don’t consider it a primary “appreciation language” in the workplace.)
Because each person comprehends appreciation differently, it is incumbent upon management to learn the “language and dialect” in which each individual feels valued and appreciated. (Read the book.)
So, whether you are a consumer or a manager, know that taking time to appreciate someone — in a way they understand and appreciate as well — can pay major dividends. Take that 0.1 hour and start today. You’ll find out it’s worth it!
Originally published at incubatorblogger.wordpress.com on January 9, 2019.
Mark Long has long experienced the intricacies of business incubation, acceleration, coworking spaces, makerspaces and other entrepreneurial assistance venues around the world. He shares his experience, outlook, background knowledge, studies, and observations in regular posts at the IncubatorBlogger. Feel free to follow him there — or follow him and UF Innovate right here.
University of Florida Innovate supports an innovation ecosystem that moves research discoveries from the laboratory to the market, fostering a resilient economy and making the world a better place. Based at one of the nation’s leading research institutions, UF Innovate comprises four organizations: Tech Licensing, Ventures and two business incubators, Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub. Within the UF Office of Research, the three organizations form a comprehensive system to take technologies from the lab to the public, bringing together the five critical elements in the “innovation ecosystem”: facilities, capital, management talent, intellectual property and technology-transfer expertise.