When I originally got the idea for this blog entry, I was thinking in terms of success in business, as a result of three lackluster experiences I recently had with customer service at three different businesses. Then, when I sat down to write about it, I soon realized that goodwill is vital to all areas of life.
Goodwill is similar to integrity in that in takes time to develop but can be lost in an instant. As my cousin says, “Goodwill is a byproduct of doing the right thing.” Webster’s dictionary defines goodwill as “a kindly feeling of approval and support: benevolent interest or concern.”
This definition makes clear that whether it is with your business associates, teammates, coaches, or bosses, or in your interpersonal relationships, without goodwill it is difficult to get beyond a surface level with any of them.
In today’s ultracompetitive world everything that gives you a leg up on the competition makes your success more likely. As successful businessman Marshall Field was fond of saying, “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.”
Each of the three companies from whom I experienced poor customer service developed varying degrees of goodwill – mostly negative – from me. The one that earned the most goodwill eventually offered me an acceptable solution and I am still doing business with them (though on a more cautious basis now).
One of the other two offered worthless suggestions, compounding my initial frustration. The last one had a website that failed repeatedly to send my complaints and was unresponsive to the ones that did go through. Needless to say, it would have taken a lot of goodwill to overcome these slights and I decided to close both of those accounts.
One of the quickest ways to earn goodwill is to exceed expectations. Here’s a recent example of a business that engendered massive amounts of goodwill from me. I ordered a supplement and a few weeks after receiving my order I received another package from them with a new bottle of what I had previously ordered and the following note enclosed:
“I want to take a moment to thank you for your recent purchase. As a token of our appreciation we sent you your next bottle free of charge. You will not be charged for this bottle and are not signed up to an auto-ship program of any kind. We just wanted to say a quick hello and thank you”
-Greg, Founder of Weyland Brain Nutrition
Not only did they send me my next bottle free of charge, they also enclosed a bottle of another product for me to try. I have since recommended them to several of my clients and am now a devoted customer.
The same phenomenon happens in our interpersonal relationships. When you go the extra mile for a co-worker, boss, friend, lover, coach or teammate, you engender goodwill and strengthen your bond with them. This in turn will lead to greater trust and loyalty, thus opening the door to greater possibilities for the relationship.
Most people want to stand out from the crowd and are frustrated when they don’t. I like to tell my clients that if you don’t like being stuck in the crowd, go the extra mile; it’s never crowded there. It’s a simple recipe for success that is often neglected by the masses and will also go a long way towards engendering plenty of goodwill from others.
You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc