I ran into an encounter recently when a client who had hired me to speak, asked me if I would be willing to take $650 for a $762.21 reimbursement. Now, while this story eventually ended very positively, in the interim, I decided to make a couple of comments to him, one of which was (and he later confirmed this was true), "chances are, you’re not feeling great right now." Why could I say that? Because you know, like I know, that stinginess never feels great.
One of my favorite Jim Rohn stories is the one he tells about a time when his mentor, Mr Shoaf, asked him one day (and this probably occurred about fifty years ago), "When you get your shoes shined, how much do you tip?" Jim replied, "A quarter." To which Mr. Shoaf replied, in shortened form, "Well, you can do that, be a one quarter tipper, but if you do, chances are you’ll probably feel cheap all day. However, if you were more generous, if you were a two quarter tipper, chances are you would feel great all day and so would the person who shined your shoes. So which would you prefer to be, a one quarter or a two quarter kind of tipper?"
Though that’s not an exact rendition of Jim’s story, I’ve never forgotten the gist of it. Stinginess, or giving the minimal amount, never feels great. But generosity, always fills our sails and souls. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, put it this way, "Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments. (Proverbs 23:6-8). What a great word picture.
On the other hand, Solomon also said, "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25). In other words, generosity isn’t only good for our souls, it’s good for our businesses as well.
One of the best customer service books I’ve ever read is entitled, "Secret Service," by John DiJulius, who owns a couple of hair studios and spas in the Cleveland area called John Robert’s Hair Studios and Spa. John’s hair studios have an incredible reputation which have resulted in massive profits and growth, fueled by a retention rate that is double the national average. And one of the reasons why is their incredible generosity, especially in service recovery.
In fact, my favorite story about this concerned a woman who came in to have her hair dyed and the designer inadvertently overprocessed the client’s hair relaxer, damaging her hair so badly that it began to fall out. Well, not only did the John Robert’s team immediately begin working with her to try to keep the rest of her hair from falling out, they also called her almost daily, gave her free products and hair care, gave her free massages and spa services, sent her cards and flowers and gift certificates to a local restaurant, and even paid for her hair services when she went on vacation in Florida. How many other businesses do you know that would go this far? Though most of us would expect that someone who went through something this would never darken the doors of the place that caused them to lose her hair, the reality is that this woman not only remained a John Robert’s client, she even referred quite a few people to come with her to John Robert’s.
Why? Because John and his team went overboard. Their generosity index was and is off the charts. They didn’t do the minimum, they did the maximum. And because they were generous, don’t you think word spread? Absolutely. Everyone makes mistakes. But those who are generous always recover better and win in the long run.
So, as you think about your company or organization, which would you say you are? Would your clients or customers see you as generous? Or stingy? And when you’re dealing with your clients or staff, would they see you as generous? Or stingy?
Remember, generosity always wins. You feel better, the person you give to feels better, word about you spreads faster (and positively vs. negatively) and your bottom line gets better. Who could ask for anything more. Generosity always wins.