I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s easy for us (especially those of us who like to fancy ourselves as "intellectuals") to make life and business too complicated. The bottom line for creating a remarkable customer experience is rather simple, go above and beyond what the customer expects, period.
For example, recently I arrived at the Sheraton Hotel in Columbia, MD to make two sixty minute presentations to a group of managers for this region from Suburban Propane. The first talk was my main message (Make it Remarkable: How to Turn Anything You’re Doing from Ordinary to Extraordinary) and the second was a message on leadership (Remarkable Leadership: How Great Leaders Lead Well Though Challenging Times). I had prepared thoroughly. Unfortunately, when I arrived and began setting up my laptop, I realized I had forgotten my power cord.
Now, according to Apple, my battery should last for four hours. But you and I know better :-). If I was giving only one talk, no problem–but two talks? I don’t think so. All I could imagine was my battery dying in the middle of my second presentation (which obviously would not a very remarkable moment). No one else in the room had an Apple laptop. So, what to do?
I decided to go to the sales office and see if, by chance, any one in there happened to be an Apple user. One person was, but their Mac was at home. However, she informed me, a new Apple Store had just opened last week at the Columbia Mall across the street (there is a God :-). Unfortunately, there was one minor problem, I was supposed to start speaking in five minutes.
At that point, another woman in the office, a sales manager named Bethe Brekke, spoke up and asked, "Would you like us to run over and get one for you?" I was so startled, I didn’t know how to respond. Now, I speak on customer service and encourage people to do this very thing, but I was still speechless (just for a moment) and then said, "That would be great." And thirty minutes later in walked Bethe with my power cord. Remarkable!
Here’s the point. How many hotel employees do you think would have said, "Too bad," or "Sorry, I can’t help you," or "I wish I could help, but I can’t," or "I’m sorry, that’s not my job," or any other or a wide range of responses that wouldn’t have been Bethe’s? Probably most. And frankly, I wouldn’t have been upset with them After all, it was my mistake. But because Bethe went above and beyond, I’ve not only remarked about it to the Suburban Propane managers, her boss, and my wife, I’ve now remarked about it to all of my ezine and blog readers . Now, isn’t that what you want your customers to do with your company? If you do, then boil your customer service plan down to it’s simplest common denominator, just go above and beyond what a customer can reasonably expect and you’ll be remarkable, just like Bethe!