It Saves to Be Nice Part 3: How Being Nice Pays Off

Favors for Nice Customers

Here are some examples of our experience in dealing with customers in our business where we, as a business, decided to do one of our customers a favor in return for niceness on their part.

Example #1

We have a customer who has ordered costumes from us for her Great Dane twice before. She is always very friendly and polite in her emails, always saying “please” and “thank you,” never demanding or expecting special treatment, and we often exchange little personal updates on ourselves and our dogs. For this Halloween, she decided to dress her dog up as “Lipstick on a Pig” and asked us to make her a set of custom pig ears and tail. We invoiced her for the ears and tail, and after she paid, she realized that she had forgotten about feet. Because she is a good customer and we have a friendly relationship with her, we decided to throw in some matching pig’s feet for free. This made her really happy (we received an enthusiastically grateful email) which made us happy as well.

Example #2

We have another customer who orders very elaborate costumes from us every year. She competes in dog costume contests and always emails us to tell us when she wins and sends us pictures of her dogs wearing our costumes, which we never tire of seeing. She always asks how we are and sends us holiday greetings, and even mails us custom Christmas cards of her dogs wearing our costumes. Because she is such a nice customer, we often charge her a little less for her custom items than we otherwise might.

Good Consumer Experiences

Here are a few anecdotes from our past where businesses were particularly nice to us for having developed some sort of rapport with them. We didn’t do anything but be friendly to them – saying hello, saying thank you, etc. and they did us little favors and gave us savings in return.

Example #1

One year when we went to visit relatives in Taiwan, our cousins took us shopping at the night-market. In Taiwan, people aren’t as open and friendly toward strangers as many people are in the States. For example, it is common for us here to say “hello” to someone whom we don’t know but whose eyes we happen to meet at the supermarket. People don’t do this in Taiwan. We were browsing a stand run by a Middle-Eastern man. Because we are in the habit of doing so, we said “hello” to him and spoke to him as we normally do here in the States. He ended up giving us a discount without our even asking (haggling is a common practice at the Taiwanese night markets), saying we were all foreigners and should be nice to each other.

Example #2

In Madoline’s senior year in college and my first year working, we would sometimes eat at a small Chinese restaurant at the shopping center near our house. The restaurant owner was a nice, friendly guy and I would often chat with him when paying our bill. One time, because we were on a diet and trying to cut calories, we ordered one item to share. The restaurant owner, perhaps thinking we weren’t eating enough or maybe thinking we couldn’t afford more food (but we really were on a diet), brought us a free plate of won ton, telling us to take a break from our diet for the night and continue it tomorrow.

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Now, we’re not saying you should butter up business people in the hopes of getting free things or discounts, but being friendly doesn’t cost anything and people who appreciate your courtesy will be more apt to be courteous and generous to you in return.

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