Little Things Matter

Posted on by in Customer Service, Leadership, Remarkability

Earlier today I had to make the same journey most of you have had to make over the last week—the journey to the Post Office to obtain those infamous two cent stamps!  Like many of you, I put it off for several days hoping I could avoid some of the longer lines, but finally I bit the bullet and did it (primarily because I had to do something else at the P.O.—or else I would have bought them online at the postal shop).

When, I arrived, the line was reasonably long, but not overwhelming.  However, it was what happened next that made today a remarkable day at the Post Office.  As I was standing in line, a manager (not in the official blue uniform) walked by, stopped, turned around and said, "How many of you are here just for two cent stamps?"  Several hands went up.  He then went back through a door to the back of the post office and returned with a small tray of two cent stamps (and some change). Then, going by order of who was in line first, he proceeded to process their orders—twenty stamps for one person, a hundred for another etc. until every request was met. Then, and only then, did he proceed back to his office (to presumably do what most managers would normally be expected to do—you know, fill out some paperwork or something else really important :).

It was such a little thing, a little kindness, a common courtesy—but how rare a thing is something like that?  How often have you seen a manager at the Post Office (or any other business), stop what they’re doing and do a simple little act to make their customers happy? Pretty rare, isn’t it?

Well, to me, this is the beauty of remarkability.  It usually doesn’t take a lot to cause someone else to want to remark positively to others about their experience with you—if you’ll just do those "common courtesy" things that everyone is supposed to do, but so few people actually do.  Now, of course, if you want to take it up a notch, you could actually go out and buy a whole stack of two cent stamps (20 x $.02 = $.40 per page of stamps) and give them away to some of your customers.  Wouldn’t that shock them? But, hey, if you’re not ready for that, don’t worry about it. Start with something small at first.  Remember, common courtesies (which aren’t so common) have an incredibly powerful impact on those who get to receive them. Hey, when was the past time you saw a blogger lift up a manager at the Post Office?

So, what little thing can you do today to make someone else’s day?

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One Response to “Little Things Matter”

  1. Malcolm Munro 12 January 2006 at 6:37 am #

    The USPS has “seen the light” after numerous threats to outsource them. I’ve been so impressed over the past few years that I’ve used them exclusively for mailing out my books using the convenient postage online feature at Too bad it takes the threat of closure to make companies remarkable. Organizations should always ponder that question.
    Malcolm O. Munro

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