Our two little granddaughters, Madeline and Zoey both eighteen months, are not yet verbal. But they began communicating at a very early age thanks to their parents teaching them how to sign with their hands certain messages such as “want more” and “all done”. What’s even more impressive and of utmost importance as far as I’m concerned is that “please” and “thank you” are also part of their sign-vocabulary. Now mind you they have to be prompted to say please and thank you as small children often are, but it is nevertheless a top priority in their upbringing.
Many years ago in my former business career I became intrigued by a then popular book entitled Customers for Life by Carl Sewell, owner of a number of successful luxury automobile dealerships in Dallas and across Texas and Louisiana. In the book he shared his ongoing search for ways of treating customers in such a way that they would become “customers for life”. So convincing was the book to me that I became a disciple of Sewell’s methods, applying them in my own business. In fact, for a while it became the mantra of the corporate business unit I managed that everyone should treat people in such a way that they too would become customers for life.
It’s a simple concept actually, just offer people excellent service, genuine personal attention, be polite, and say “please” and “thank you” – basic common courtesy, the Golden Rule. If you need proof that it works just look what it has done for the Sewell family who through thick and thin has thrived in the luxury car business for almost a hundred years.
Our grandchildren may never become successful business people like Carl Sewell, but the more they develop a sense of authentic gratitude and learn to express that gratitude by simply saying “please” and “thank you” the relationships they develop in life are far more likely become “relationships for life”. So, I say “thank you” to their parents for teaching them one of life’s most important lessons, and encourage them to “please” keep up the good work.