Monday, November 29, 2010

Customer Delight on a Plate

Last week, my family and I stayed at the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel, in Schaumburg, IL.

I chose it on Expedia because of its high customer-service ratings -- more important than low prices when my family is involved.

During check-in, Patrick, the manager on duty, was friendly and accommodating. That was expected.

As I signed my name, he offered us a batch of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. That was unexpected.

Bummer: I had to turn him down because we were headed out for dinner at a nearby restaurant -- cookies would spoil my daughter's appetite (not to mention mine).

What did Patrick do? He offered to save us some cookies for later, after we came back.

Sure enough, when we returned from dinner, there was Patrick with a half-plate of cookies -- still warm and covered with a napkin -- just for us. Oh, and did I mention the glass of milk for my daughter?

That was REALLY unexpected. Remarkable, even.

Think of it. In a world of race-to-the bottom prices -- with customer "service" to match -- here was a guy who delivered customer delight on a plate ... of warm cookies.

You can bet we'll stay there again next year on our way to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving.

So: What does all this say about service these days?

It is STILL easy to stand out and be remarkable, that's what. All you need do is one small, unexpected favor.

I travel all the time. I check into and out of hotels all the time. And I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the process.

Patrick didn't delight me at check-in with a whiz-bang computer system or a fake smile. He won my loyalty and widespread praise with a plate of cookies.

Now. What small, unexpected favor could you do for your clients?

How about giving them a non-selling phone call? An article in the mail? A thank-you note? An introduction to a prospective new client?

Don't hire a focus group or kill yourself trying to be creative. Just show real appreciation for your clients by doing them a small, good turn -- one they didn't pay for or expect. The results may delight you.

For more ideas like these, download Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.

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