In our last tip Misery, Mediocrity or Magic I reminded you about the choice that occurs thousands of times a day in every business as the customer has the chance to make a judgment about the quality of service you are delivering. That moment is a Moment of Truth for the customer and a big moment of opportunity for you.
I promised in this tip that I would give you some examples of what “Magical” moments look like. As I do that remember the words of the modern day magician Walt Disney, “There’s no magic to magic, it’s all in the details.”
Moments of Magic occur when an employee is faced with a Moment of Truth and chooses the high road, chooses to do something differently, chooses to give the kind of “volunteer,” discretionary effort that customers appreciate, enjoy and remember.
The effort can be as small and easy to do as smiling at a customer, or as grand a gesture as sending a helicopter to deliver a contract to a new client on a Saturday morning!
To get you thinking about how you can transform Moments of Truth into Moments of Magic, following are a variety of ideas that our clients, colleagues or we ourselves have used with positive results.
Create Moments of Magic by:
- Offering customers a special table or upgrading a meal.
- Surprising them with money or its equivalent. For example, every 50th customer to walk through the door gets a free lunch.
- Having a mascot and theme that carries through in everything you do.
- Having someone hold umbrellas for customers on rainy days while walking them to their cars.
- Wearing a shining smile for everyone.
- Sending flowers after the first order.
- Sending fun or inspiration pop-up cards along with your invoices.
- Pumping up your enthusiasm and spreading it around.
- Always responding to requests positively, using words like, “Of course! I’d be delighted. It would be my pleasure! Certainly! Whatever you need! Your wish is my command!” Banish phrases like, “No problem. Sure, hang on a second,” and such, all of which are flat, noncommittal responses that sow seeds of indifference.
- Piping (good!) music in the parking lot and on your hold line
- Celebrating events like “We Love Our Customers Day!”
- Have a party for significant customer events (like picking up a new car)
- Acknowledge exciting moments for customers.
- Create a club and reinforce the feeling of “membership.”
- Sending freebies.
- Defining what “the gold standard” of care in your industry is – then delivering it.
- Being more empathetic.
- Choosing to welcome angry customers without defensiveness, and to view those moments as opportunities to learn about flaws in your systems.
- Finding unique ways to say thank you (i.e., singing telegrams). Say it often and sincerely.
- Fixing problems with flourish. For example, send an apology on a silver platter.
- Surprising customers. Send post cards or gifts for no reason at all or for perfectly delightful reasons, such as a customer’s birthday.
- Sending articles, information etc. that relate to your customers’ personal needs (i.e., when your customers have a cold you send them your grandmother’s “secret” chicken noodle soup recipe).
- Increasing speed of service. For example, resolve problems in twenty minutes instead of two days.
- Making appropriate allowances. We know someone who received the wrong set of fragile glassware by mail, and expressed her concern about shipping them back to the company to the customer service rep who was handling the situation. The rep allowed her to “just keep them” to make up for her disappointment, time and trouble, and they sent the new glasses as well.
- Creating a sense of exclusivity or prestige, such as platinum, elite or preferred status.
- Being informed, really informed. Become an expert in your field and in your customers’ fields.
- Doing the equivalent of the hotel industry’s practice of “leaving chocolates on pillows.”
Find small ways to show you care just a little more than the next guy. The key is to appeal to the place in every person that likes to feel special and important, to help customers feel happy, to brighten their day and sometimes to appeal to the kid inside everybody.
My grandmother was a baker and taught me early on the effect of the “baker’s dozen”, I’ve always been thrilled with that extra cookie!
The bottom line: You can take control and use every customer encounter as an opportunity for success and profit, or you can let things go, lose control, and inadvertently create “Moments of Misery or Mediocrity.”
Which will you choose?
Go make some magic!