the magic of expressing appreciation

In my software company, we get hundreds of requests to build new features each month. Each of those requests gets prioritized next to the hundreds of requests we got the previous week, and with the overall thousands of requests that are on our lists.

Some of these requests are good ideas, some are bad ideas, and some are just middle-of-the-road ideas. 

We don’t normally charge for new features when we roll them out, as our pricing model is an all-inclusive one. We hate to be “nickeled and dimed” ourselves, so we don’t do that to our customers. 

So when we come out with a new feature, it could be one that one of our partners specifically requested recently, or it could be one that has been on the list for a while and we are just getting to it. 

When we deliver a new feature we announce it in an email, there are 3 ways our customers can give us feedback about our work:

  1. They can not give us any feedback at all.  Crickets……..

  2. They can give us lukewarm praise and/or ask why we didn’t include this or that. 
    Hey that’s great, but when are you guys going to add ________?
    – Finally! Thanks.
    – Thanks.

  3. They can go over the top and shower us with praise. Comments like:
    Woohoo!!! One of My dreams came true!
    That’s awesome. These enhancements will be really helpful.
    Yay!! When can I get this?
     We LOVE you! Pleeeease tell me I can have this today!
    OMG! You guys are rockin’!

The people who comment have no idea what impact their words are having on the other side of the fence.

When we get those high-praise comments, here’s what happens:

  1. They are shared via email with everyone in the company, giving everyone involved a “feel good” shot in the arm. 

  2. The people who designed the feature, built the feature and tested the feature, really feel good about themselves and about all the time and effort they put into it. 

    And then here is where the magic happens…

  3. Subconsciously, everyone in the company wants to build something more, and something better for those people who went out of their way to thank us. We feel energized and think to ourselves: That was easy, wait till you see what we build next!

Here is what happens when we get lukewarm comments:

  1. The comments are not distributed to anyone.

  2. For those who see them, the comments are viewed as a light slap in our faces. We think to ourselves: We busted our ass on that – that was NOT easy – they have no idea what that took to build.

  3. We are not excited or motivated to go out of our way for those people.

  4. The next time they call and ask for something, their request subconsciously takes a back seat.

    No appreciation – No magic.

So when someone does something nice or cool or helpful to you, show “over-the-top” appreciation. You will get it all back… and then some.

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