Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Family Business, You Learned in Kindergarten

As I interview family-owned businesses for the Family Biz Buzz YouTube channel, I am gathering information about the secrets to their success. Without fail, when I pose this question, the response has something to do with treating their customers right. You certainly don’t need an advanced degree from a prestigious school to master that smart customer service strategy. In fact, you probably just need to remember what you learned in kindergarten.

“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”
by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need
to know about how to live
and what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sand pile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance
and play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
watch out for traffic,
hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

The section I’ve highlighted really is the secret to customer service success. It’s not about policies and red tape; it’s about treating others how you’d like to be treated. Sure, in the short term it might not be easy and it might even hurt the pocket book to make something right for a customer, but most family businesses aren’t in it for the short term. They see the value in long-term relationships with their customers. Some business owners I talk to go so far as to try to treat their customers like family.

Seems so simple, doesn’t it? When faced with a customer service challenge, just remember what you learned in kindergarten and then go eat a cookie.

– Jane Olvera Quebe, President  


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