Rewards and Thank Yous

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At the end of every semester in the university center we take time to recognize our students that will no longer be working for us and students that have done an exceptional job.  I have the pleasure of working with a lot of talented, driven, and overall great students, so I decided to nominate a few of them for awards.  The day after doing so, I discovered that one of the nominated students didn’t like to be recognized in front of an audience.  Here I thought I was rewarding her for a job well done and saying thank you for the hard work, when in reality I was putting her in an uncomfortable situation.  It wasn’t the end of the world because she could throw on her big girl shoes and accept the award graciously, but was I really saying thank you in a way that was meaningful to her?  Did she feel appreciated?

One way for a company to show they care is to thank and reward employees and customers in a way that is truly appreciated.  I’ve learned over the years to ask my new hires what motivates them.  Knowing what motivates employees helps me show my appreciation in a meaningful way.  Not everyone is motivated by a public pat on the back, a raise, a promotion, or a plaque the size of their office wall.  Sometimes it’s a private conversation, a sincere thank you, or support during a new adventure.  I try not to put all employees in the same category because what is meaningful to someone may make another one uncomfortable.

1457520_10201041970283539_653777636_nThe same holds true for saying thank you and rewarding customers.  While scrolling through my never-ending Facebook feed last week, I saw a friend post on her timeline that she had been waiting in line at a Target store when the registers crashed.  She said the store was extremely busy and it took her 20 minutes just to get through check out.  To try to make amends, Target gave her a $3 off coupon with no expiration date.  It’s a small coupon however, it says we are sorry and we’re going to try to make it better now.  It doesn’t say come back in two weeks and purchase something else from us and then we’ll give you a discount.  Too many times companies attempt to solve an issue with a blanket promotion or coupon.  The last thing I want after standing in line with the registers down is to have to come back for you to attempt to make it up to me.

Their reaction was immediate and extremely smart.  Think about it this way – your customers are stuck in line, frustrated, and have nothing to do but check Facebook, Twitter, and every other social network.  What is the best course of action?

If it were me, my tweet would have gone from frustration to excitement in minutes.  Do you think that’s worth $3?

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