From My Heart to Yours This Xmas
Any business which has person to person interactions has an opportunity to embody the spirit of Xmas by demonstrating our willingness to serve others.
I talk about service a lot. I am guilty of banging on about it actually.
More recently I’ve been asked why the word “serve” or “service” over words like “value” or “solution”. To be “of service” (for me anyway) means it’s an act of humility where I show up to help or support someone else first. It’s also my experience that when I do this, the interaction is always of service to us both. But for it to be a practice, I cannot be transactional. I need to have an abundance mindset and trust in my value.
That’s why it’s a practice for me. It takes time to cultivate and like anything worth having, it takes a lot of work.
So I wanted to extend this practice to you. With Xmas nearly upon us, it’s a chance for each of us to use it as a reason to consciously connect with others.
It’s easy to forget that although Xmas is an important trading time for industries like retail in particular, we can connect more deeply with our customers by being the change we want to see in the world this Xmas, through the lens of our products and services.
Giving is more than money or products. It’s the personal effort we put into our actions that matters. And while it’s not our reason for reaching out to others, our actions will connect our customers to us in ways beyond logic.
Find a way to gift your service to help others who otherwise would not be able to work with you. For example, those in financial services could work help those to put a budget together for 2020. Those in recruitment could do resume writing or interview skills. Linking in with an outreach provider enables you to focus your service where it will have the most impact.Uber drivers may offer their services for 1 hour to an aged care provider for the purposes of doctor’s visits, or to drive family members to visit who otherwise would rely on public transport. Social media experts or media experts: capture someone’s 10 life lessons to give to a family member. Hairdressers and barbers: haircuts for the homeless.
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. Because service means time, not just donating products.
So, what about Retailers?
Clothing Retailers could provide a styling session gift tree. Kmart’s Giving Tree enables customers to buy an extra present for a nominated person, so what if we could partner with outreach services in our local communities to not only provide donated branded clothes from customers but provide a styling session to help someone do more with what they have? Making someone feel special for Xmas day, new years eve, job interview or just because. When people see themselves differently, it can spark a difference inside too.
Book retailers could read stories to children whose parents are shopping in store…. What if they provided reading services to aged care for Xmas in store? What if there was a book exchange service to donate books to youth or even adult detention centres?
Imagine if our department store staff went out into the shopping centre to give complimentary hand massages to mums? Or foot massages for retail staff? It’s highly visible. Witnessing acts of kindness increases our own propensity to be kind.
Now before you say anything, I know that retail is working with small margins as it is. I know that for many of us, staff on the ground are thin enough. I get it. But if there was a way for support staff (ie. our marketing departments, our HR people, our finance people, our merch teams) to come out to spend one day each giving back on behalf of the brand, what message are you sending to them?
Our millennials are searching to belong to brands they’re proud of, that are about more than just selling stuff. It’s our chance.
And if Xmas doesn’t eradicate the Scrooge, then what will?