Hug Your Customers and Your People

By Kim Hawkins

Jack Mitchell of Richards Department store, wrote two very inspirational books that really spoke to the Kiwi way of doing things.  When I read these books, I couldn’t help but think “he’s writing about how we do things.”  One is “Hug Your Customers” the other is “Hug Your People.”The principle is simple – be kind, considerate, helpful, and respectful.  At Downunder, we treat our customers and staff like family.  That’s the way it is in New Zealand, my home country.  Kiwi’s, as we’re known, will take you home if you don’t have a place to stay, shout you a meal or drink, give you a few bucks, or drive you where you’re going.  We’re a humble, caring people.  And I believe that’s the way it should be everywhere.  And it starts wherever you are – home, work, in the community.

His first book, “Hug Your People”, speaks to taking care of your staff.  Treating them as family, encourage vs praise, reward, incentivize, get to know them – remember their names and details of their life/family.  Not just the owner/manager, but one another.  One of my sons went to a school called Hyde, in CT.  It was a school for kids that were challenged, and challenging.  One of the principles at the school was being a ‘Brothers’ Keeper.’  This means looking out for each other, motivating and encouraging, having their back.  It also means holding them accountable, if they are not up to par – finding out why.  Maybe there’s a problem at home, or in the workplace.  Maybe they just need to talk.  Listen, listen to what they’re saying, then say back to them what you thought you heard.  That’s the sign of a great listener and friend.  The answers to our problems are inside of us, sharing helps us find them.

I hope this blog has been inspirational, that you will hug your staff/boss/clients/friends.  Me!  Come in to the Westport location for a big hug, from me, and Fin – if dogs are your thing.