The last time we were together I told you a story about the bad experience my wife had at a local restaurant over the price of a burger. If you are a regular reader of this space, then you know that I am an optimist and believe that people and companies can deliver a great experience.
Last week she had a great and unexpected event.
Over the years, Joanne has had an entrepreneurial spirit which has manifested itself in different business opportunities. Right now, in addition to holding a part time job, she has Joanne’s Event Rentals and sells small amounts of Scentsy. According to Wikipedia, “Scentsy is a United States-based multi-level marketing company that sells scented products including wax warmers.” Joanne likes the product and is able to get discounts for herself by placing monthly orders for herself and her friends.
Last week she was on the phone with a customer service rep from the Scentsy home office, and toward the end of the conversation, the woman on the other end of the phone casually asked Joanne if she had any fun plans for the upcoming weekend. Joanne explained that her 98 year old father had recently passed away and we were heading to Sioux City for the funeral. The Scentsy rep expressed her sincere condolences and went on to confirm our address. Joanne thought it was nice of the rep to be so nice, but that was the end of it.
We were wrong.
On Saturday, during the funeral, Joanne received a voice mail from a florist stating that she had flowers that she left on the front step, and that we might want to bring them in soon because it was cold out. Obviously, Joanne had her phone off, and when she finally got the message, she called one of our great neighbors to help. Then we wondered who sent the flowers.
It was Scentsy.
The card read, “Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. Sincerely, Heidi and Orville Thompson” (owners of the company) “and the Scentsy home office.”
Scentsy did not have to send flowers. Joanne is by no means a big producer and probably one of the smallest. But Scentsy has trained their employees to act and spend company money on things that will build goodwill.
As small business owners and managers, do you empower your employees to spend some company money to create goodwill?
Obviously, you do not want people spending thousands, or even hundreds of dollars without guidelines. Today I challenge you to supplement your advertising budget with a “goodwill budget.” I suggest letting your front line employees decide how to best spend that budget. It might include flowers, gift cards or other acts to let your constituents know that you care. You will more strongly engage the front line staff and the benefactors of your goodwill.
The flowers that Scentsy sent will probably not result in Joanne actively selling a lot more of their product. However, the way the person on the phone treated her, along with the flowers, created more than one Scentsy fan in our house.
Small Business Today is a bi-weekly feature written by Tom Friedman, market president of First National Bank, Ankeny.