After travelling to Argentina recently, I became aware of some very important cultural and business differences between Australia and Argentina, specifically Melbourne and Buenos Aires (BA). There is huge gap in the level of service here in Melbourne compared to BA, across a wide range of businesses. It all starts and ends with 2 very important words - 'Thank You'
Taking time out travel for pleasure is an important and luxurious endeavour for any business owner, I decided to take some time out and travel to Argentina. Why Argentina? Argentina was in my sights as I love dancing tango and it has been recommended to me many times. I also have some programmer and design contractors there.
It took me a couple of weeks to get my bearings, 13-hour time difference didn’t help much either. Once grounded and my awareness level returned to a normal state I became amazed at how courteous and polite people were in BA.
Walking into the businesses, cafes, restaurants, shops and bars in BA you are greeted by well-dressed older professional staff, who attentively seat, meet and greet. Being looked in the eye and welcomed with smiles and a genuine handshake or nod feels good, even great.
The cynic at first thought they were picking the ‘tourista’ or ‘gringo’ however, after several hours of observation, I came to realise this was the norm. The level of service and welcomes were always warm, genuine and not over the top and gushy, just excellent service. Also my Spanish was at beginner level and I made a very big effort to speak some Spanish on all occasions.
My best experiences were because of the ‘thank you’. Yes this simple often taken for granted phrase can mean so much and can be very powerful. It does not matter if it is a ‘muchas gracias’ or ‘bien gracias’ it is all about genuinely caring and being grateful.
Much of the way business is conducted revolves around the fiscal transactional process, so much is taken for granted and everything is process and systems driven. All good and fine until you actually have to talk and interact with a customer, staff, prospects, partners - people.
Thank you is a very important part of how we show others that we care. Giving thanks is a critical component of any relationship, without it we feel cheated or neglected in some way. Saying thank you to your customers will improve your business, they will feel appreciated, to back this up with some numbers I did some research - in a 10 year study by leadership experts, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton of over 200,000 managers and employees showed that saying ‘thank you’ resulted in bigger profits.
So the questions I have for you are, do you say thank you often enough? Do you say it with sincerity? Are you even saying it all?
This isn’t a religious rant, moneymaking scam or even a push for a public holiday (thanks giving day in the US is a holiday) it is a simple request for people to be more thankful and not take each other for granted. Best of all using this advice will not cost you any money! There is no charge on courtesy or giving thanks, so even in tough times the solid investment of a good thank you will pay dividends.