Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Thank you

Thank you are two words that are heard all too seldom in business, yet they make such a difference.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been dismayed and delighted by those two little words.

I had done some writing for a business friend as a favour and when I sent it over by email I heard nothing back. Not even an acknowledgement, never mind a thank you. I was upset and outraged. What rudeness, I thought. Maybe he didn’t like it and didn’t want to say! I was starting to feel paranoid, but he should have at least said thank you … I worried away at the incident like an out of sorts terrier.

Then the tables turned. First of all my business friend hadn’t even seen the work I had done for him, and when he did was profuse in his thanks. It was a silly misunderstanding.

Then two commercial thank you’s arrived.

The first was a letter from British Gas thanking me for not moving my contract. They didn’t try and sell me anything, nor upgrade anything. It was just a thank you. Short and sweet. I was slightly taken aback.

The second was from my bank manager. Now I was suspicious!

I had been livid with the bank over a mistake they had made. Even as a business customer I felt helpless against the might of their systems and policies. It seemed there was nothing they could or would do to get the problem resolved as fast as I would like.

On Monday morning, before my first cup of peppermint tea, the phone rang and someone gave me all the necessary details that sorted out the issue. I felt better. Maybe I had been too hard on them. They had responded. My week wasn’t going to be a nightmare after all.

Then the phone went again, this time it was my bank manager apologising for the problem and assuring me it had all been put right. By this point I felt as if the bank did actually care that they had messed up.

But when I received a bouquet of flowers as a thank you for my patience during the incident I felt suddenly and uncharacteristically fond of my bank manager. The huge, faceless Barclays had done something deeply human and warm. Crumbs!

Thank you is so powerful, so effective, and so underused. Thanks Lynn, the flowers are still lovely. (No, not all bank managers are men!)

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