“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

If you’ve ever had someone in line in front of you pay for your food, drink or another item without accepting any acknowledgement or payment in return, you know that these random acts of kindness can sometime mean the world and inspire a kindness in turn – or in the best case – a series of them.

Even though the cost associated with most pay it forward generosities is very little, there’s a priceless quality to them, and luckily, it’s catching on. According to TrendWatching.com, practicing random acts of customer kindness represents an emerging consumer trend that surprisingly (or unsurprisingly depending on your outlook) runs in parallel with customers becoming more frugal in their spending over the past few years.

A study by Booz & Co. and Young & Rubicam shows that while brand attributes such as exclusivity have significantly decreased in popularity, traits such as kindness and empathy and being friendly are up in value by 300% and 150% respectively. Customers more and more want business and organizations to be increasingly “human.”

Henry Mason, TrendWatching head of research and analytics, notes, “For consumers long used to – and annoyed by – distant, inflexible, self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received.”

A good example of a big brand leading a random acts of kindness initiative is Starbucks. The coffee giant is currently running its “Come Together” campaign that rewards any customer who comes into Starbucks and buys someone else their favorite beverage with a free, tall coffee. The cost or gain may be insignificant for the brand, but overall, the small customer-centric gesture serves up a positive message, hopefully with a ripple effect, that is worthy of recognition during Customer Service Week.