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It has taken me many years to learn a simple lesson. There are very few things in life that we are able to directly change. We cannot change our colleagues, the government, the weather or our customers. We cannot change our spouses or our children. If we wish to change any of those things we must begin by changing ourselves.

If you work in any organization there are probably co-workers who you do not get along with as well as you might. No doubt they annoy and irritate you. But have you stopped to consider what might happen if you treated them differently? Would they react to you differently and become less annoying and nicer people? Perhaps it is worth a try, just do not expect immediate results.

Often it is easy to blame someone else for a situation when we are equally to blame ourselves. Even if a situation is not our "fault" it is still probably worth changing our own behavior towards someone else if that will produce an effect we want. Even if the change just leaves us feeling better within ourselves knowing that we have done whatever we were able to do to change things we have still benefited.

How do you treat your customers? When was the last time that you sent them a simple note to say "Thank you for your custom and support," have you ever sent such a note? How would you feel towards a supplier who sent you such a letter? We like people who show some concern for our welfare, we cannot help ourselves.

When was the last time you asked your customers if there was anything that you could do for them? I do not mean as a veiled message which, really means "is there anything else we can sell you." Simply and genuinely ask if there is anything you can do for them without expecting anything in return. It’s one of the best possible customer service programs.

Will some people take advantage? Probably but I am afraid that is just life. Those people were always going to take advantage in some way. What is important is the goodwill you generate among the majority of your customers. If your customers feel that you care about them they are far less likely to change suppliers and it will always be cheaper to keep existing customers than to find new ones.

Why not just try the idea out with a few of your best customers and see what happens? Just show you care about them without expecting anything in return. At the very least you might just find you feel happier in yourself.

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