Forget strategy – just be Nice.

By Manoj Raheja

Have a read at this quick story by Paul Spiegelman.

I encountered a small medical practice suffering from bad patient satisfaction scores, primarily because of the long wait time to see a doctor. Sound familiar?

The founding doctors brought the team together and considered hiring more doctors or buying a scheduling software program to increase efficiency. But they decided to try something else first. Now, when the patient came in, the receptionist immediately told him the estimated wait time (which didn’t decrease).  Later, when the patient was brought back to the physician’s office, the nurse and physician both apologized for the wait and thanked him for his patience.  On his way out, the receptionist thanked the patient again and offered to make the next appointment. The wait time didn’t change. But patient satisfaction scores went up.

Now as a consumer, I’d much prefer if they hired more Doctors but is it not fascinating that by just being Nice the scores went up?  Clearly it has major cost savings advantage too (versus hiring another Doctor or getting the scheduling software).

Here’s another story from Harvard Business Review:

At Enterprise Rent-A-Car you get a free bottle of chilled water when you pick up your car. That delights Enterprise’s customers, and customer loyalty has contributed to the company’s 11% annual organic growth over the past two decades. That’s more than triple the rate of the market.

Obviously Enterprise does more than just provide a bottle of water, but arguably it’s a symbol of how they treat their customers, and it’s hard to argue with their long term sustainable results!

Enterprise isn’t the only one.  Think about the Four Seasons and their internal mantra of following the Golden Rule (treat others how you want to be treated).  Sounds like another Nice Successful Brand to me!

So the next time you see satisfaction scores go down, or brand relevance scores, or just about any consumer health metric or sales figure, perhaps you can take a page from these examples and add another tactic to your brainstorming list on how to save your brand.  Be Nice.  These businesses and brands were Nice and consumers rewarded them for it…and that’s what makes their success cool!