When someone goes out of their way for you, it makes a big impression…especially if it’s done with no expectation of getting something in return. Companies can have the same impact on customers when they super-please. These acts earn loyalty and have a ripple effect when customers share their experiences with others. As competition in nearly every industry gets tougher, only those that super-please customers will thrive.
Opportunities to super-please are everywhere—it just takes identifying and acting on them. You may have heard the story about the passenger preparing to board a flight who sent a tweet to Morton’s steakhouse jokingly asking them to meet him as airport with a steak after he landed. Morton’s surprised the man and answered his request, going out of their way to make a customer happy and creating a great PR opportunity in the process.
Ritz-Carlton is a brand that’s been known for its super-pleasing service. An occasion to super-please presented itself when a guest’s son forgot his favorite stuffed giraffe at one of the company’s hotels. The only way the child’s father could get him to sleep without the giraffe was to tell him that the animal was taking an extended vacation and would be home soon. Ritz-Carlton not only returned the giraffe safely to his owner, but took photos of him at the pool and other locations around the hotel and sent them and a few other gifts to the boy. It was a happy ending and showed the company’s willingness to go beyond the call of duty to please its customers.
Part of super-pleasing is always keeping it top of mind and looking for opportunities to truly make a customer’s day. A Zappos customer needed to return some shoes, but ended up not sending them back for a while because her mother had passed away. When Zappos contacted her about the status of the return, she explained why she hadn’t had a chance to mail them back yet. Zappos not only arranged for the shoes to be picked up, but sent the customer some flowers, expressing sympathy for her loss. The customer was overwhelmed by the kind act.
An example involving retailer J. Crew demonstrates the need for companies to have customer-centric cultures and give employees freedom to super-please. A customer had placed an order on the company’s Factory site and used a one-time coupon but accidently canceled the order. After emailing the company, the customer was told the coupon could still be applied, but the order needed to be confirmed. By the time the customer confirmed the order, the product was sold out. A company rep helped the customer find a comparable product on the regular J.Crew site and gave it to him at the closest Factory cost, as well as applied the coupon.
In this case, the employee had the right tools and the freedom to make decisions that allowed him or her to go above and beyond in serving the customer. Super-pleasing opportunities can happen in an instant, so if an employee has to check with a supervisor to get permission for something, the opportunity may have already passed. It also takes vigilance. Whether it’s noticing a customer’s facial expression or detecting a particular challenge someone is having, being observant is essential.
Big, extravagant gestures aren’t necessary to make an impact. It might be something as simple as picking up the phone and making sure a customer is happy and satisfied. It might be a salesperson calling and wishing a customer a happy birthday. It could be sending an article that might be of interest to clients, helping them stay on top of industry news.
Super-pleasing not only impacts the recipient, but those who hear about it. It’s uplifting to read stories of super-pleasing. And it can not only win a customer’s loyalty, but influence others to consider a product or service. It’s super-pleasing that will win customers for life, every time.