In recent days we've seen a lot of businesses rise to the occasion. We've seen banks provide relief on mortgages, landlords provide relief on rent, companies are pivoting and offering things like hand sanitizer and toilet paper deliveries when before they only delivered pizza, etc.
I was going through an old journal of mine, a direct result of cleaning my office due to the work from home advice I received in Episode 67 of The Vendor's Daughter and found an entry from August of 2019. Here's what it said:
What separates good companies from great ones? The thoughtful details, the wow moments, fulfilling a customer's need before they even know they have it, the ability to make someone else's life easier because they choose to do business with you.
I had two recent customer service experiences that reminded me of this; the first was at Chik-Fil-A and the second was at Central Market, a higher end grocery store (think Whole Foods) owned by HEB.
I went to Chik-Fil-A for lunch on a work day. Because I needed to finish a project I took my laptop in to work while I ate. I still had more work to do, so after my meal was finished, long after my tray had been cleared, I was still typing away when a woman came by and asked if I would like a refill on my sweet iced tea. Why yes, yes I would.
I had already contemplated getting a refill but I didn't want to abandon my work station and I didn't want to waste time in line. And because of their excellent customer service, I didn't have to.
What baffled me about this was that Chik-Fil-A had a policy that when implemented actually cost them more money. Arguably a refill would only cost a few cents but a few cents multiplied by the thousands upon thousands of people who eat there every day (except Sundays) adds up.
They chose to institute a policy that cost money but in doing so elevated their customer service, set them a part from the accepted fast food culture and created at least one loyal fan.
In a similar vein, due to traffic on I-35 , I missed my 12pm yoga class on Saturday. I needed to go grocery shopping but had to purchase some perishables (milk, cheese, etc). I was in a predicament because if I was going to go to a 1pm yoga class that would mean my perishables would be in the hot car (it was 104 degrees outside) for over 2 hours.
Sidenote: In case you are wondering why not go grocery shopping after yoga. We had 3pm plans to meet up with friends. Grocery shopping after yoga would mean being even later than Ryan and I typically run.
We needed groceries more than I needed yoga so I went to Central Market. At checkout, still sad about missing yoga, I asked the cashier, an older woman who was an Austin native, if she thought the milk would hold up in the car.
She said no...not on it's own. But, it would if I grabbed a few bags of complimentary ice on my way out.
What?!!!!! Complimentary ice?!!!
Not only did she tell me about it, she walked over to the exit with me, showed me where the ice was and helped me bag it in a way that it wouldn't leak in my car.
I was able to save the milk and go to yoga!
Central Market, by providing complimentary ice, solved a problem for me that was bigger than my groceries.
My question for you is, what problem(s) are you solving for your customers? Are you foreseeing possible obstacles in their day that they aren't even aware of yet (someone at Central Market came up with this idea for free ice long before I wanted to make a 1pm yoga class)? And by solving these problems, what experience are you providing them with, how are you making them feel? More importantly, if you aren't creating wow moments for your customers, who is? And how long will it be until you don't have any customers to wow at all.
For more on this visit show notes for Episode 68 of The Vendor's Daughter.