January might be over, but spring still feels a long way off. It’s a time of year when people need extra love injected into their day, creating an opportunity for small businesses to get close and personal when they interact with customers.
Random Acts of Kindness Day
Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming up on February 17. This is the perfect opportunity to flex some muscle as a customer-focused brand, test the response and come up with ways to practice this long-term. If nothing else, it’s also a way to show customers you care. Known in short as “RAK day”, the event is celebrated by individuals, groups and organisations worldwide (on different days) to encourage altruism, charity and good will.
Getting involved and showing your socially-conscious side has significant business benefits, like:
- Expanding your target market
- Increasing customer loyalty
- Increasing your competitiveness with a fresh USP
- Inspiring and re-energising your team
- Taking your brand in a new direction
- Adding another rationale to premium pricing
- Making you more attractive to investors
Ideas for random acts of kindness
You may think that with limited resources you simply don’t have the time, but as ever, we’ve come up with some workarounds designed for the most time-poor business. Here are some random acts of kindness ideas that won’t get in the way of you doing a solid day’s work.
Don’t forget to use the #RAKday hashtag when you share your activity social media. And if customers share their own photos, get them to include your company handle so you can track engagement.
On the way to work
If you create a great impression first thing in the morning, it lasts throughout the day. So here are a few ideas that will benefit your business before you even clock-on.
1. Go plogging
Plogging is the practice of litter-picking as you jog. It’s care for your body, community and the environment, and a quick and easy thing to arrange with any staff who live en route. You can even do it on your own.
If you have time to prepare, get your team some branded t-shirts or hoodies, use branded carrier bags or just keep some business cards in your pocket. Speak to other joggers and walkers along the way to let them know what you’re up to, ask if they’ve heard of your business and invite them to drop by.
2. Run a carpool
Like plogging, a carpool won’t take you long or cost anything to organise. You could call door-to-door on your street to let people know which route you’re taking, drop round handwritten notes or promote your service via social media. If other members of your team drive into work, even better — create a carpool team that’s active for the whole week.
3. Give out freebies to commuters
Whether they’re packing onto a tube carriage or joining the morning motorway gridlock, commuters could often use some kindness to see them through their journey. As well as brightening up their morning, you introduce them to your products and put a face to the name of your business. Coffees, pastries, fresh fruit or a mystery gift are all valid. Whatever you choose, choose it with a target customer in mind.
You’ll need to get a “permission to distribute leaflets” license to hand out your freebies in most parts of the UK, which might come with a small fee.
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During work hours
Random acts of kindness can still take place when you’re in the depths of a busy day. These next ideas below won’t starve you of your time, or customers of your attention.
1. Play matchmaker
Encouraging random acts of kindness is a kind act in itself. And as a hub in your community, you’re well placed to match those who need help with those who can give it. A simple way to do this is to create a pinboard, put it up next to your point-of-sale and encourage customers to leave their request notes. It could be anything, from gardening help to some one-on-one company.
2. Collect tips for a charity or good cause
Successful charity collections are driven by the passion of the collectors themselves. You could choose a cause (or causes) collectively with your team and put some collection boxes out on the countertop. Chat to customers about the impact their donation would make. The better you tell your charities’ stories, the higher the chances are your customers will buy into the cause.
3. Show generosity to your customers
The smallest tweak to your customer service is sometimes enough to blow people away with your generosity. Break out of the routine and try some of these ideas:
- Include handwritten notes with shipments
- Send out discount codes just because
- Get to know your customers by asking about their day
- Give a few extra stamps on their loyalty cards
When the day is done, there are still a few ideas for small acts of kindness that won’t clash with your evening.
1. Give away in-date food
As well as putting up a sign advertising free leftover food and ingredients, you could join a food-sharing community through OLIO or Fareshare. These companies help redistribute surplus food to local residents and homeless shelters, so that nothing goes to waste. If you choose to hand out freebies yourself, make doubly sure that everything is in-date.
2. Treat your staff
Random Acts of Kindness don’t have to be performed just for the benefit of your customers — your staff need them too. It could be some after-work drinks, a mini work awards ceremony or a simple meeting to say “thank you” for their hard work.
In the words of Sir Richard Branson: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. By showing emotional intelligence as a leader by caring for your staff, you encourage their loyalty, dedication and diligence. These, in turn, improve the way customers experience your brand and create a workforce of passionate brand ambassadors.
3. Be kind to yourself
Great leaders need to be kind to themselves as well as others. As well as paying yourself a fair salary, looking after your wellbeing has a trickle down effect towards your customers, your team and the way you approach your work. Make a list of things you’d like to achieve in the coming week and how you’ll show yourself kindness in return.
How to measure impact
Going back to the purpose of all this activity, it’s important that you measure your success. You might do this by looking at sales, new customers, feedback, social media engagement and staff morale. There are a number of ways to do do the measuring part:
- Get customer feedback when you send digital receipts
- Measure engagement on social media by looking at how many people liked, shared or commented on your posts
- Get your staff to provide feedback
- Speak to your customers about how they felt it went and what they’d like to see in future
- See if there was an uplift in sales using your point-of-sale system
- Write up your own evaluation based on customer reactions