It goes without saying, small business owners have endured unimaginable hardships during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Yet it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. We’ve seen incredible acts of deficiency, resilience, and most of all, altruism.
So, this International Kindness Day, we thought we’d show some kindness back to our customer base.
Introducing ‘Get Vocal for Local’
Get Vocal for Local is our company-wide scheme which encouraged all employees to spend at a local Dojo or Paymentsense business on Friday 13th November. From breakfast croissants to takeaway Thai, to beers from a local grocery store, it wasn’t hard to find something delicious to buy. Win-win.
Full tummies aside, we wanted to show our support for local businesses and show our customers how much we appreciate their work, by making a conscious decision to purchase from them.
“Our local high streets or neighbourhoods are vibrant and unique places because of the work that independent businesses do. They bring their passion, creativity and hard-work ethic to our doorsteps, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook that.
I know that my local area would be a lot less-inviting without them, that’s why I’m encouraging myself and others to Get Vocal for Local, today and moving forward.”
– Alex Betts, Head of Customer Experience
Less lockdown cooking
It’s a Friday, and by this point, we’ve seen the dishes pile up. Three cooked meals a day and endless self-made coffees that don’t quite taste as satisfying. Working from home is tough on a lot of people so we thought we’d double-down on our kindness. If staff are being kind to customers, how can we show kindness to them?
Treat them to their local takeaway, pastel de nata, a crate of IPAs, whatever they decided to shop locally for – no judgement here.
We gifted staff £10 on us, to treat themselves at one of our customer’s stores. Not only did this incentivise people to get involved (who doesn’t love free food?), but it helped people get talking about their favourite local spots. We even found out what they loved about local and why they chose what they did.
Staff shared their foodie pics on our Slack channel and across social media using the hashtag #vocalforlocal. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites here:
Shouting further afield
Acts of kindness start small, but hopefully, with a bit of luck, they snowball. Something about ‘it’s nice to be nice’ – a gimmick that holds a lot of truth. Amongst us, we realised that it wasn’t really about the free food on a Friday night.
It was about understanding the importance of giving back to things we often enjoy or take for granted.
By the noise and pictures from the Slack channel, we enjoyed our free fish and chips. By sharing reviews and photos amongst a small group, we galvanised others to visit more local hidden gems.
What if we could do this on a larger scale? What if there was a place we could leave feedback about our delicious meals? Enter Google My Business.
Everyone that took part in Get Vocal for Local left a meaningful review for the business on either Google or TripAdvisor, or both.
It costs nothing but a bit of spare time. Yet, it can make a world of difference for independent businesses. Especially those in the hospitality sector, that have faced and are currently facing huge adversity and challenges to their very existence.
We’re hoping that our one day of local loving will start something more permanent. We’ll continue to support our customers and local business owners by putting them at the heart of everything we do.