When we talk about how to boost the return on investment (ROI), the ways that come to mind are improve sales, raise prices, increase revenues, cut losses, and reduce costs.
Then, when we expound on the how, there comes product or service improvement, employee retention, brand recognition, customer satisfaction, social media and that's it. We plan, strategize and implement.
But have you ever thought of a component beyond the creative and economic which may help boost your ROI? What if we add kindness? To find out more about the ROI of kindness, I talked to Jill Lublin, author of The Profit of Kindness: How to Influence Others, Establish Trust, and Build Lasting Relationships.
It may sound melodramatic, yet it's business-sound when you consider these:
1. Kindness Builds Positive Internal Relations
A kind organization starts from within--from its leaders to the employees. Lindon Crow, President of Productive Learning, says, "As a leader, the way in which I walk into the door has the ability to leave a trail of carnage or a trail of inspiration and motivation." Kind leaders communicate the role their subordinates play in reaching the goal of the business and guide them proactively in achieving them.
The kinder the leader, the more engaged the employees are. The more they feel that they belong to something meaningful, the longer they stay. In a study conducted by Businessolver, 33% of employees stated that they would transfer to more empathetic employers for equal pay while 20% said they would do it for less pay.
2. Kindness Fosters an Attitude of Gratitude
Kindness produces a positive and accepting environment. An environment where people are generous in saying "thank you" and expressing appreciation. One that shapes an upstream reciprocity as the recipient of gratitude gets inspired to offer the same goodwill to another individual.
According to Gallup, 67% of employees are happier and more productive when managers focus on the positive aspects of their performance. Recognizing the accomplishments and hard work of employees have also been proven to improve their engagement, loyalty, and service delivery to the customers.
3. Kindness Develops Genuine Customer Service
An organization exuding kindness spills over the same to their clients. They offer service first before selling. They provide solutions and not just products. They go above and beyond to show they care. And in a time where consumers are more scrutinizing when it comes to not just the value of what they are paying for but as well as their whole experience, it is imperative for businesses to show authentic empathy to gain and keep such customers.
Neil Alcala has ingrained kindness in the culture of his company, DirectPay. For more than 20 years, they have assisted clients of their competitors who call them by mistake. Do they drive people away? Apparently not, as this act of helpfulness has led to processing of 3.25 billion dollars and counting for their customers.
4. Kindness Allows Service Flexibility
An empathetic business offers flexibility with their products and services. Policies do create an orderly process, controllable system, and overall efficiency. Yet, a truly kind organization is humane and cognizant of the difficulties some clients may experience. They have the ability to embed understanding and leniency within their policies.
The online store Zappos is one great example. Other shops may view returned products as a nuisance but this company sees them as a chance at better customer relations. They have a 365-day return policy for their products with free 2-way shipping. Guess whom they get the most profit from--the customers who return items the most often.
5. Kindness Creates a Sense of Community
Like a ripple, a kind organization does not just positively impact its own team and its clients but also the community or industry where it operates. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer found out that 80% of consumers worldwide recognize that business must have a role in dealing with societal issues. Kind businesses are able to reach this 80% because they indeed think beyond themselves.
As the current market trend points to more socio-political and environmental offerings, seize the opportunity to do good and earn well at the same time. How can your product or service bring value to your neighborhood, your clienteles' community, your network? From small acts of kindness to big contributions to charitable organizations or activities, you can attract more customers and build brand loyalty.
There is enough proof that a dog-eat-dog world need not exist. If only we intertwine kindness in our strategy to increase ROI, we would see that kindness is not just a motherhood statement. It does pay dividends in the forms of employee engagement, quality products or services, socially responsible operations that lead to emotionally connected customers.
As another Gallup study proves, these engaged clients "represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer."
How are YOU bringing kindness into your business?