One of my favourite things about the customer experience is adding a dash of delight and surprise. It is my gift to the client, one they haven’t asked for, nor are expecting.
Sometimes it’s been something tangible, other times it’s a service provided. Regardless, as long as it was in good taste, it has always been well received and leaves the guest with the knowledge that I care, and they are important to me. It also communicates we are prepared, listening, and attentive to their needs.
To pull off the ultimate delight and surprise moment, you need 3 things; Empathy, Observation, and Preparation.
Empathy: I find the more you care, the better the idea. If it excites you, it should excite your clients.
Observation: Take notes on your clients; sizes, likes/dislikes, favourite teams, places they’ve lived, places they want to go. What is close to their heart?
Preparation: This can vary from minutes to weeks of preparation. But it is a must because this is an opportunity for impact and you don’t want it to backfire.
Over the years, I think we’ve come up with some pretty impactful ways to make an event more valuable and a travel experience more indelible. Like an illusionist, they’re looking one way and we deliver from the other. To be clear, it doesn’t have to be a shock to the client, just something that tells them they matter, we care for you, and genuinely want you to enjoy the experience with us.
Here are a few of the things we’ve done that can be considered delighting and surprising.
- An Irish client living in England mentioned to me that his prized Ireland headcover had “seen better days”, so without him asking, we overnighted an exact replacement and put it on his club for him the next day. It cost me under $20 and 10 minutes of work. Thanks, Amazon!
- A loyal client was visiting Vegas for his son’s 21st birthday. Our partners at VIP Escapes arranged for a helicopter tour of the Strip and Grand Canyon without them becoming aware of it until their arrival at their hotel. They were off the next morning and the smiles never left their faces. In addition to this, we were able to orchestrate the helicopter land at the course they were playing at, which was epic! Sweet Victory!
- A foreign guest sustained a foot injury and I offered help. Within 30 minutes, I had him in a doctor’s office, to the pharmacy and back in time for dinner 90 minutes later. Being prepared by having the doctor “on call” while the guests were in town was the reason it was impactful.
- I have a client who was in town entertaining 7 guests. I knew this was an important trip for him, so we prepared small welcome cards with a short note “from the host” and had them waiting on the carts for their arrival. It was a small touch that made my client look good for his. Cost $3.
- People forget that Vegas is hot, dry, and often more fun than they anticipated. For about $30 per person, I’ll put together a little bag with sunscreen, lip balm, antacid, Advil, markers, hand lotion, band-aids, my card and a few other items in case they had forgotten to pack it or something catches them off guard. Who hasn’t awakened in a hotel room at 3 am wishing they had packed Pepto Bismol?
- Unfortunately, this trip just canceled and was for some clients headed to Scotland for a 50th birthday celebration. On the 5-hour drive from Dornoch to Ayrshire, we were set to have the driver pick up a “hitchhiker” who would actually be a hired musician to entertain them, tell some Scottish tales, and make the trip more impactful. Please steal this idea and let me know how it turns out!