Customer Experience News & Trends

Why kissing up pays off

Go ahead: Flatter your boss, co-workers and customers. Kissing up really does pay off.

People who use subtle – yet sophisticated – forms of flattery are more likely to win approval from higher-ups, colleagues and decisions-makers (such as customers), researchers at Kellogg School of Management found.

Remember though: Insincere compliments and blatant butt-kissing don’t work. On the contrary, it’ll bother customers and colleagues.

Researchers offered these tips to kiss up effectively:

  • Ask for advice. People feel good when they’re asked to share their positive experiences. You might say to a customer, “How were you able to successfully do that under these circumstances?”
  • Talk behind their backs. Sincerely compliment co-workers and bosses to their friends and colleagues.
  • Agree with values. Before you agree with their opinions, compliment their values. For instance, “Your high standards lead to great decisions.”
  • Give them room to be humble. Act as if flattery will make customers or co-workers uncomfortable (so they won’t be!) Say, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but …”

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