What brand is represented in the picture below; the one with the goats? It’s got nothing to do with dairy, or food of any sort.
In the US, as part of their green initiative; Google rents goats to mow the lawn in their Mountain View HQ. Now, that is remarkable.
Zappos, shoe retailer, pride themselves on their customer service. When a lady returned a pair of shoes because, due to hypersensitivity issues with her feet, she couldn’t wear them, not only did they refund the money, but they sent the lady a bunch of flowers and a get well soon card. Now, that is remarkable.
As entrepreneurs and business people, we always expect our staff and our customers to love our business the same way that we do, as much as we do, and that’s insane. They will never love it as much as you do. They shouldn’t. If they did, that would be a problem; a big one. What’s more realistic and better, is to move your customers and staff from a place where their attitude is, “I just do it for the money but I don’t really care,” to a place where their attitude is, “I’m really engaged in this company and I want it to succeed. I love it.” They just don’t love it as much as you do, and that’s okay, but they love it all right.
Now, things like Google green initiative, renting goats to mow the lawn, or treat a customer as if they are your only customer, your celebrity customer; those are the kind of things that make staff and customers proud, that moves them from, “I don’t care,” to “I am engaged.” And before you stop and complain that it’s just the ‘big boys’, that we don’t have the resources to do those fancy things, read the next paragraphs.
For his 70th birthday, I bought my father-in-law a Silverstone Experience, where he was going to drive, a supercar around a racing track for a few laps. The day came, we all went down as a family. The experience itself isn’t really that great; you travel a couple of hours to the racing track, then you hang around a couple of hours not doing much, waiting. And then the time comes, you get suited up, go around the track three times, which takes less than 10 minutes, and that’s it.
This in the picture below is my son, Rafaello, we call him Raffi.
Raffi is absolutely obsessed with motorbikes and cars, but especially motorbikes. Our other two kids were also into cars and bikes, very keen, but Raffi is truly obsessed. One of his very first words was ‘casco’, Italian for helmet.
So, we were at Silverstone, waiting for my father-in-law to get his turn. There are shelves with rows and rows of helmets, and Raffi was of course determined… he was going to put one on. I tried to persuade him, to distract him, “come Raffi, look at the cars on the track”… nada. He just wouldn’t hear ‘no’ for an answer. There came a point where I had to make a decision; I was either going to be told off by the chief staff at Silverstone, or by Raffi. I had to choose. So I chose the least painful option; I gave Raffi the helmet. At one point, I saw the chief staff looking right at us, and he started walking towards us and I thought, “Oh damn.” Then I looked at Raffi and said: “Raffi, we’re in trouble.”
The chief staff got to us, looked and Raffi and said, “You are wearing the helmet; now you must come with me.” Raffi, intimidated, followed the chief, and I followed Raffi. When Raffi realised where he was being taken, his face lit up. He was ecstatic and almost shaking with excitement. The chief took him to a real racing car and opened the door to show Raffi the car inside.
He made Raffi’s day; and he made mine. What a remarkable example of great customer experience. It only took two minutes. If the chief staff wanted to tell us off, it would’ve taken longer. Instead, he made our day. A remarkable thing to do which totally transformed my experience of the day.
If you’re an employee or a customer, that’s the kind of stuff that moves you from, “I don’t care,” to “I’m engaged.”
The point is that there are many ways to impress our customers and staff, many ways in which we can heighten their experience and make it a remarkable one, one that makes them engaged and proud to be working with us. There are ways to do that without relying solely on perks and financial incentives. These, it turns out, are not as effective as one may think in motivating people. You can read about that here.
The simple things are often the ones that are truly appreciated, truly felt and which make people feel special. We all have the ability to WOW our customers and our teams, it’s within, like Aladdin’s lamp – we just need to learn to rub it the right way.
I leave you with one question we should ask ourselves periodically and always have a good answer to: how can I wow staff and customers?