by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
We live in a world of constant carping,
unending complaining, where “nary is
heard a discouraging word” is long dead.
Instead, the order of the day is grouse, groan,
gripe. If you listen to the person on the
street, nothing is ever right; everything is
Whether this is true or not (and it isn’t),
the plain truth is: it’s time to make a
concerted effort to thank the folks who
do things right. THEY are an endangered
species, and they need all the help they can get.
1) Resolve to appreciate
Now, too many people go out in search of
what’s wrong. Let’s flip that and resolve to
seek what’s right. This doesn’t and shouldn’t
mean that we don’t see and deal with the
bad. However, it does mean that we take
a more balanced approach: to see and root
out what’s wrong… but equally to see and laud
2) Compliment good service… at once
When was the last time that someone, a
fellow human being, did something nice for
you… and you let the moment pass without
uttering a few good words? The truth is, it
happens all the time. Someone made an
extra effort for you… went that extra mile…
and you said NOTHING! In the famous line,
that makes YOU part of the problem!
Be it resolved: whenever anyone does
anything nice for you, make it a point to
compliment the good deed doer. At once.
3) Send a note.
Good words are nice. But in our time-pressed
world, if you really want to compliment good
service and make an impresssion, send a note.
Do it the old-fashioned way, the way your
mother taught you. Use your personal stationery
(you do have some, don’t you) and write a
personal note. Then stick a stamp on it and mail.
Yours will be the first such note the recipient
has received in months… or even years… and
will be valued accordingly.
Note: e-mailing a message is nice, but
because e-mail is so prevalent (and because
most e-mails that people send are poorly
spelled and otherwise replete with error),
e-mails have less of the impact you desire.
And text messages have even less.
4) Notify a supervisor.
Were you the recipient of something very nice
indeed? Then don’t just compliment the good
deed do-er; notify her employer, too.
People in authority constantly complain that
it’s difficult to find good workers. For such
people your good words are like gold, helping
them sort out the better personnel from the
rest. Since yours may be the only such message
received, it will have a significant impact.
Take a moment, therefore, to call the company
where the good deed do-er works. Get the name
and address of the company owner, ceo, president,
or supervisor. Ask for their e-mail address, too.
Then either mail or e-mail a brief but focused
note. Make sure you include the full name of the
employee who helped you. Make your message
short, clear, upbeat. Don’t be surprised if you get
a nice response to you note; such messages are
always most welcome. (You may even get a
little token of appreciation yourself!)
5) When the deed is REALLY meritorious
There are times in life when a note, no matter
how flattering, is not enough. I think, for
instance, of when I took ill in a restaurant
one festive evening… and how helpful the
staff was. For them something more was
required… and a lavish bouquet with accompanying
note… was immediately dispatched. For such events,
I have an account with a local florist. You’ll find
that useful, too.
6) Tell a friend
ALL businesses appreciate the value of word-of-
mouth advertising. Sadly, ten times as many people
tell friends about the things that go wrong than
the ones which go right. Make sure you help lower
these odds by passing on the good things, not
just the bad.
Make a concerted effort, the next time you receive
good service, to tell a friend. And make sure
the person so informed mentions this recommendation
when they ask for the service themselves. The
recipients of the good word will be glad to know
they’re being favorably discussed.
7) Answer customer surveys
Businesses need to know how they’re doing. Thus
when you’ve been the recipient of something
good, don’t withhold this crucial information;
make sure to complete survey questionnaires
so the company knows.
Companies know you’re busy. Thus, they
usually make such surveys short and sweet.
5-10 minutes is all that’s required on your
part. There is usually a “comments” section;
if so, be SURE to mention the name of the
person who was good to you. This useful
information will certainly be noted.
By following these steps, you will assuredly
lighten steps, generate smiles, and encourage
the good to continue their winning ways.
After all, despite all the undoubted bad in
the world, we are all, yes every one of us,
the recipient of good. Our job is to foster
and encourage it. Now you know how!