It’s the Medium Things

Today I received a replacement card from Starbucks and earlier this week I ordered some linens from a small company in New York – both experiences were phenomenal, yet I never spoke to a human.

The Starbucks card was a replacement for a holiday gift card. I have no idea if the car wash guy got it or I just dropped it somewhere but replacing it was a breeze. The online system was clear, even funny and the Starbucks folks communicated with me every step of the way from: “you have this much on the card” which thankfully was what it should have been, to “we have cancelled this card and will send you a new one” to the arrival today of the card with a note that said “It missed you too”. I smiled and loved Starbucks for yet one more reason beyond coffee.

The linens arrived as promised too but with them came a card of handmade paper with pressed flowers, a scent to the card and it was handwritten. It thanked me from ordering from this two person company and told me a little about their story. I felt the connection and not only kept the card but the second one that arrived a month later asking me if I was still satisfied and if not they wanted to make me happy! Really? I was still happy and sent them an email to tell them so. Guess what? They wrote back!

This week I took part in a seminar about a new client in China and the representatives from China kept telling us their mission was happiness, not profit. At first it was hard to wrap your thoughts around a culture that put people first and money second. Say what you will about their culture and governments but focusing on happiness not only for yourself but your fellow man; was profound.

Maybe that’s what Starbucks and my linen supplier wanted too – one happy customer. I look forward to learning more from the Chinese in the year ahead and will share with you the ways they communicate. Thought out communication just can’t be classified as “a little thing” and might even be “a big thing” but to these providers it is just part of great business.

Now I’m off to have a latte and a Zen moment to be thankful for all we have here in the US and how much there is to learn from other cultures too.

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