The Power of Kindness

I’ve mentioned before that expressing thankfulness is a very powerful practice. I was blessed to be the recipient of this experience a few weeks ago, and started the following post on that very day, but was only able to finish and post it today. Enjoy the post, and then take the time to pass on the blessing to someone you are thankful for today.

2013.11.12
Today a customer called me at work and brought me to tears.

Normally this would be a bad thing, but not this time. Let me explain.

I work in customer service for a company that takes care of household appliance parts and warranty. I deal with a wide variety of people, and on the whole I would say most of them are experiencing some level of frustration. There are those who are feeling mild frustration because their appliance is broken, but are still very kind and co-operative. There are those who are agitated and distressed because they feel their repair is not going fast enough or smooth enough. Then there are those who are beyond upset, yelling and screaming, not willing to listen to reason or co-operate in any way. All of this to say, my co-workers and I do not receive a high level of appreciation in the situations we encounter each day. And even though I have learned how to be professional and not take things personally, I have had times where I have not been able to help but react with tears from a customer’s angry words.

Today a customer called me specifically to thank me personally for helping her with a repair last week. I helped her get an issue resolved with her oven and it was fully taken care of before Thanksgiving. So she personally called me back to thank me and tell me how delighted she was with the service she received. It was a lovely, short phone conversation, and when I hung up, I was actually teary. My work environment can be very stressful, and lately it has been particularly chaotic. So this gift of gratitude given to me today caught me completely off guard. In the past I have had customers thank me on the phone at the end of dealing with their initial concern or customers have emailed to say thanks after a situation is resolved. But I have never had someone purposefully call back specifically just to say thank you. I am sure this customer just thought this was a nice thing to do, but she does not know how much it meant to me to be intentionally thanked. It was like a glimpse of sunshine on a dark day. I almost physically felt tension leave my body. And I did cry. This made me think about a few things.

We do not know what others are facing. This customer did not know the stress I had been under and the effort it took for me to remain kind and friendly after a few rough days filled with harsh customer encounters. Each day as we cross paths with dozens of other people, we do not know the silent, hidden burdens that weigh down their hearts and cause tension in their lives. People can be masters at disguising the fact that they are running on empty, and so internally starved for a kind word or gesture to lift them up.

Simple can be significant. It does not take much to impact another persons life. What may take me a mere moment could be the most meaningful part of another persons day. Whether it is a kind word, a loving gesture, a thoughtful note  or a helping hand, these simple things can completely redirect a bad day, a negative attitude, or a broken spirit. I would have never known if this customer ignored the idea to call me back and thank me, but she did make that simple gesture and it meant the world to me. The next time you feel that nudge to do something simple for someone, do it! It could make their day, or even their whole week!

Recognize those in Customer Service. I am sure this applies to other professions as well, but great customer service agents often bend over backwards to help their customers and seldom get appreciated in return. Every day each one of us has numerous people who serve us – at the bank, the gas station, Tim Hortons, the grocery store. Granted, the service is not always excellent, and in those cases I suspect kindness would still lift up their day and encourage them in their work. But often we do encounter those who give excellent customer service. It is a great idea to say thanks! Let them know they are appreciated.

Kindness is powerful. It can be expressed in so many forms – thankfulness, thoughtfulness, a compliment, a listening ear, and so much more. The Bible says being kind is good for us (Proverbs 11:17) and cheers up the heart of others (Proverbs 12:25). To those who receive kindness, it encourages and lifts up. To those who give kindness, it is one way that shows we are being transformed, being rewired from selfish inclinations to thinking of others first. What a beautiful and simple way to let God’s love flow through us.

Share a comment below of someone you are thankful for and why. Then figure out a way to show them kindness this week!

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