A New Framework
One of these days I'm going to start a list of frameworks. I feel like I develop such a running list but the whole concept is that you only need a few. I need to boil them all down and consolidate but that's for another day. Let me introduce you to a framework I've been formulating - Education is Retention.
When you educate someone, you provide them with something more than they had before. Maybe it's knowledge. Maybe it's understanding. Maybe it's skills. That individual is better off because of your instruction (this is based on the assumption that people are basically good - a topic for a much later date). You probably jump to school when it comes to educating, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You're educated by your boss, parents, friends, customers, acquaintances, or the internet. It's a constant flow of information that is being passed from one entity to another. What does that do for us?
A few months back, I was working at a drive-thru coffee shop when I realized the grounds for this framework. On a cold November morning, I was working the line, running back and forth taking orders from the line as my coworkers broke sweats making drinks. I enjoyed the line because I could take my time to talk to people and give them a good laugh first thing in the morning. I walked to the next man's car and took his order.
"Can I get a large hot white chocolate mocha with caramel please?" the man said stumbling through his words as if unsure of what he was ordering.
"I can absolutely make that for you! For next time, we call that a Snowy Diamond here. It's not on the menu but if you say that we'll know what it means" I replied.
The look on his face was unforgettable. What I could tell was once the difficult chore of ordering coffee, was no longer a nervewracking experience. (As an aside - people do not understand coffee whatsoever. Nobody knows the difference between a latte, mocha, americano, etc so that nervousness shows up when they order, EVERY TIME). What a burden is lifted when a serious annoyance like that is lifted from your life. How relieved he must have felt. If you would have asked me that day, I would have sworn that the look on his face told me I had just earned a customer for life.
I pondered that experience for some time. It made me want to reflect on other jobs and could find nothing that refuted my new conclusion. I spent four years working as technical support for a telecommunications provider. Education was one of the most important parts of the job! Teach people how to use their phones. Explain their bill to them. Walking them through how to fix their own problems with their phone. We couldn't have achieved the customer service ratings we did without education. That also explains why the turnover at that provider was low.
Not only does educating your friends, coworkers, but most of all your customers benefit them just by gaining more knowledge, but they also benefit by seeing that you care. When you take the time to bring them into your loop of knowledge, you express a desire to connect with them. Your knowledge and education help set proper expectations which leads to long standing relationships. And that connection is powerful. That's what takes an acquaintance you see in the line every day to a friend. Takes a friend to a best friend.
We need to tell our significant others how we're feeling. Tell our boss we need help with something. Tell your friends you're busy this weekend. Tell your customer how better to use the product. Educate, educate, educate and they will stick around, whoever it is. It doesn't take much, but it goes a long way.