My friend and former workmate at JAN Kelley Marketing, Tim, reported that the agency’s largest client had sent the agency 8 dozen gourmet cookies…to say thanks for a job well done.
On the surface that appears to be a very nice gesture. Well, it’s not. It’s an amazing statement on the relationship between two groups.
Consider: the client’s office is in the U.S., someone had to stop and think about how well the job was done, the decision was made to recognize the successful completion, the gourmet cookies had to be purchased (not sure if the were smuggled across the border or bought in Canada) and last, but definitely not least, shipping had to be considered in light of the fact that smushed cookies are not as nice. The team that works on this client’s business, headed by Tim, are smart, hardworking and wonderfully Canadian. The fact that all members of the agency were able to sample the client’s appreciation made the cookies even sweeter.
In a day and age where openness, loyalty and genuinely friendly relationships between suppliers and clients is not the norm, this is a marvellous story. It’s certainly not the cost and it’s not even about the cookies. It’s about taking the time to express appreciation.
This little story that Tim shared made me think. (Ouch) How many opportunities do we miss over the course of a year to express appreciation. I’m not talking about the obvious “thank you’s” but rather those creative touches that suprise the person on the other side, the touches that emphasize the depth of your appreciation. A few I’m sure.
Without spending too much time considering the business implications behind this story, I think the story itself is a reward. It’s simply about good people on both sides doing their very best work and letting each other know that they value one another and the product of their business relationship.
Skiing has been excellent at Sir Sam’s Ski Resort and by all reports they’ve had the best year in a long time. Great. For them and for the County.
Neither Jane nor I downhill (it’s just my waistline that goes in that direction) and we usually dread the season. Our humble shack is a stone’s throw from one of the ski lifts. We find that it’s far busier in winter than it is in summer. Now, that’s not so bad, but what has left us with a grimace over the past few years is the fact that a neighbour broadcasts music to the adjacent ski run. People tell me that good rockin’ music adds to the pleasure of a great run.
We are about 1500 metres from the hill through the woods and, as luck would have it, we are in perfect alignment to receive the the amplified bounce-back of all this great entertainment. Most weekends you could not sit out and talk to each other without straining to cut through those sensational sixties hits.
Like most Canadians we are a reasonably patient pair. We’ve frowned and grimaced for about five years now. Finally it got the better of us and, because I didn’t know the neighbour, I thought I would craft a carefully phrased missive to express our complaint. I was pleased with the tone and manner of the note but all the while I was rehearsing what might happen in response. What if this was a biker family that loved to ski? Or worse still, a party central location for the region’s vampire ski club? You just can’t tell what’s going to happen or worse still, what might happen to you!
Last Sunday I trundled over to the “sound shack” and left my note. On the return home I swore I could feel beady eyes watching my retreat. I would wait for the response all the while hoping it would not end up with some form of vengeful retaliation.
Monday the phone rang. It was a Toronto number. I didn’t recognize it. I answered it with the full expectation that it would be a gentleman or lady from India offering some new and wonderful bank product. It wasn’t. It was him. Oh my gosh, HE was on the line talking to me about my note. I steeled myself for some form of tongue lashing or a simple suggestion to mind my own business. I was left gobsmacked. This very polite and reasonable younger man (well, he sounded younger … and taller and muscular) said that he was so sorry that we were being impacted by the music and he wanted to try and ensure that we weren’t offended in the future. He gave me his phone number and asked me to let him know should the music still be too loud. He didn’t at all consider the entertainment needs of the skiiers should come before his neighbour’s comfort.
He was a diplomat in angels clothing as far as I was concerned. I was left with my eye’s wide and my mouth open (my wife says that’s a normal condition). After due consideration I realized that we had just settled a ticklish situation “the Canadian Way”. Good manners on both sides and an appreciation of each other’s needs. Jolly good show.
Yes. He called on the weekend just to make sure everything was OK. Charming chap. We must share a bubbly pop some weekend – after ski season.