Delight your customers and your employees by paying it forward

Haley Joel OSMENT

I was chatting on the phone earlier today with a contact and we were talking about collaboration, working together, associate agreements, partnerships etc etc etc

However, on the back of that I also found myself expressing my frustration with how much some people talk of collaboration and partnerships but then nothing happens.

This, for me, seems to be all about risk and about how many of us wait to receive before we give anything.

Feel familiar?

That conversation then reminded me of the film: Pay it Forward.

Have you seen it?

I love the Pay It Forward idea and the impact a simple set of acts can have.

Did you also know that there is a Pay It Forward global movement, whose website contains some great stories and ideas of how people can get involved? Brilliant.

One article on their site, in particular, stood out for me as it contained 101 ideas of how you can pay it forward in your life and business. You can check it out here.

It also made me think that the Pay It Forward idea is something that we can apply to both the outside and the inside of our businesses to help us build better relations with our customers and engage our team members more.

How about if we did one of or all of the following:

  • Called a customer today to say Hi, ask them how their day is going and thank them for their business;
  • Congratulated someone on a recent success;
  • Acknowledged one or all of your team for something specific that they have done recently that you thought was great or showed initiative.

Note: Jim Connolly’s recent article (20 minutes of pure awesomeness!) provides some more ideas of how you could apply this to you or your business.

But, here’s the trick and this is where it gets interesting.

I don’t think this should be a one-off thing if we want it to have an impact. Whilst the existence of Pay it Forward Day on 25th April 2013 is a good thing, don’t you think that this should be something that we should try and integrate into our business on an ongoing basis?

Imagine what would happen if you were always trying to Pay It Forward to your customers, your partners, your colleagues, your suppliers….what would happen?

I believe that it would have a hugely positive influence on relations with our customers and members of our teams.

This is where the opportunity, I believe, lies. The truth is that many people will acknowledge that this could be a good idea and a good thing to do but most will not do anything about it.


Because changing behaviour and breaking habits is hard and takes will and commitment.

If you want to impact the way people talk about your business or you then a good place to start is with what you do and how you do it.

Stand out by being the one that commits to change and makes it happen.

Thanks to detengase for the image.

10 comments On Delight your customers and your employees by paying it forward

  • Adrian,

    I love this. Thanks for taking this concept, bringing more awareness to the projects, and aligning it was CX. Love the list of suggestions in the “20 minutes of pure awesomeness” post. Now if we can just convince people the impact these gestures have!

    Annette 🙂

    • Hi Annette,
      I am pleased that you enjoyed this post and found it useful.

      I would suggest, however, that convincing people of the impact of these gestures is hard….Perhaps, we should just lead by example and show people the benefits and impact. That way we can help them get started by showing them the way.

      What do you think?


  • Hello Adrian

    I thank you for writing this and getting me present to that which I had forgotten. This movie shows up for me as one of my all time favourite movies. And the concept calls to me.

    If you and I get that we live in a ‘you AND me’ world then paying it forward makes perfect sense. If you and I get that we are ‘out here’ in the world with all that is the world, rather than ‘in here’ isolated observing/thinking/feeling about the world then paying it forward makes perfect sense.

    Anything and everything that we do that creates happiness in the world benefits us. How? You and I are in the world not detached by it. So happiness in the world is happiness in us.

    I have no business to offer you today my friend. I do offer you my friendship and my love. Please know that I am grateful that you exist. And that your existence makes a contribution to my existence.

    At your service / with my love

  • Adrian,

    Interesting idea. Particularly the exercise in repeatability.

    I once read that “It is our habits that define us”. In this thy just might


  • I enjoyed reading your post. Yes I truly am an advocate in paying it forward and I’m wishing that everyone would simply realize this fact so the whole world can be a better place for everyone. We all need to be kind to one another and we all need a bit of kindness as well. But why do most people find it a bit strange and weird when you try to help a total stranger. Plus the scammers and the con artists in this world are taking advantage of other people’s kindness which is really pathetic. Wish people cared about one another more than making money. Come to think of it, greed not green is actually the color of money! Sad but true.

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