With a little bit of imagination, you too can delight the customer by giving them a little extra when they least expect it.
-Lee Cockerell

We’ve all had the experience at least once. You go into an establishment and you walk out with a surprise in their the product or the service. My most recent was a Hertz car rental location that I frequent often. I had a 1200 mile road trip ahead of me and while I only booked a midsize car, the manager had a brand new Jaguar waiting for me. Needless to say, I was pretty excited! They didn’t have to do that, but the gesture showed how much that they cared about my business.  Our brains are wired to respond to these types of surprises when they happen. Let’s look at some ways we can put this into action where we are. 

Anticipate their needs

Sometimes we overthink the giving more approach. We immediately think that we have to give a bunch of products or services away, and while those things do count,  it’s not the only option. Anticipating and meeting a need before the person even realizes it is a great way to give them more. An exercise that I teach leaders and frontliners is for them to imagine themselves in the person’s situation that is in front of them.  Now think about products or services that you would want or want to learn about if you were in their shoes. You simply then connect them to those things. I recently did this with a guest I came across in one of my store locations. I didn’t give him anything but time and knowledge to help meet his full need. At the end of the conversation, the man shook my hand and his wife gave me a hug. They received more than they anticipated in meeting their need and it didn’t cost me anything. 

Sometimes it’s knowledge and sometimes it’s just simply seeing a customer’s needs and just being there for them. On numerous occasions, I’ve read books and watched cartoons with children in order to give their mother a few moments to shop alone. Although it’s typically only 5-10 minutes, it’s like gold to a mother who rarely gets a moment to look without distraction. Tune your team into one that looks to anticipate the needs of your clients. 

Make a personal connection

Many businesses are trying to create experiences for their clients in order to keep and gain customers. Even giants like Walmart who have made great strides in technology and adapting to a new digital reality have yet to figure out the experience part. It all still feels like…..a transaction. They haven’t gotten the personal connection down yet. Amazon tries but isn’t there yet either. The good news is that you can figure this one out and be ahead of the curve of the mainstays. Our goal is to give the guests two personal connection moments during their visit. One on the floor and one at the time of checkout. It can be about any number of things as long as it is professional and unique to that person.  We may have a conversation one guests about the sports team shirt they are wearing and the product they picked out. We may have a conversation with someone else about their grandchild that they brought in and their plans for the rest of the day.  Make it personal and do it more than once for them to see how you care. 

It takes teamwork

Beautiful things begin to happen when the team starts working together to bring the guests more than they anticipated. I’ve been blessed with great teams that not only listen to the person in front of them but also what is going on around them. It would be fairly common for an employee to pop around the corner with the exact product a guest was describing to me before we even started looking. They would also play off of each other at the register during the checkout time to make sure that the guest had a great last impression of us. Have your team tune into each other and their surroundings to make the experience more than what they anticipated.

You don’t have to give away the farm to give a person more. Make that personal connection, anticipate the need and work together to knock their socks off with a great experience.

Make a better tomorrow.