It’s also about a new program McDonald’s just introduced, and why almost every company in every industry should consider copying it.
Let’s start with the program. McDonald’s calls it the “Thank You Crew” initiative, and it includes two things:A very simple user interface that allows customers to submit online thank-you stories about McDonald’s employees who do a good job or go the extra mile — whatever they want to say thank you for. A measure of promotion to inform customers and media about the initiative and to encourage submissions.
Pretty simple. In fact, it’s one of those “it’s so simple and smart I don’t know why not every company does something similar” moments, for a variety of reasons.
First, gratitude is one of the most powerful drivers of productivity and happiness at work—something we’ve seen in study after study after study. “Thank you” is one of our most powerful phrases.
By promoting an effort like this, employees know you can trust them to do things they deserve, even if you aren’t always around to see or document them.
Third, enticing customers to express their gratitude increases the positive feelings they have for your business.
Then, the whole effort means you’ll likely receive a host of positive, powerful anecdotes about your business, which you can then promote to even more potential employees and customers.
Finally, there is the filter effect: you only ask for positive stories worthy of gratitude.
When negative complaints come in – legit or trolling – you can review them and maybe even act on them individually. But of course you don’t have to pass them on.
The McDonald’s program already has a few “thank you” examples on their website. Perhaps most notable is gratitude to a McDonald’s employee who “jumped into action” from a drive-thru window to save a customer who was choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver.
McDonald’s, of course, isn’t the only major company to have ever thought of such a thing. You may immediately think of the prompts you get to tip Uber drivers as soon as you get off a ride.
Or else, I’ve previously written about the Kick Tails program at Southwest Airlines, where employees and frequent flyers alike can give out Kick Tail vouchers to employees as a way of saying thank you for a job well done. (The vouchers can be exchanged for gifts and prizes.)
In addition, I wonder if there might not be a way to make these kinds of programs even more successful.
Perhaps if a company informs customers and employees that each month a pot of money or prizes can be awarded to the employees who get the most thank yous each week or month – or something else that costs the customer nothing but encourages participation by or let her know that there is really something to the effort.
However, this is more than just a good idea; I think it’s an example of leadership with emotional intelligence. It’s about using multidimensional communication and harnessing emotions to make it more likely that you will achieve your ultimate goals.
As I write in my free ebook, 9 Smart Habits of People of Very High Emotional Intelligence, emotionally intelligent people try to end every interaction by expressing gratitude for something — anything — even if it’s just because they have taken the time to have the conversation.
Encouraging customers to express their gracious emotions and encouraging employees to take pride in their work could mean McDonald’s can get just that little bit closer to its ultimate goals. More importantly, maybe your business can too.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
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