“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations, and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life”.
As we talked about before, the customer is the boss – the most important person we need to focus on keeping happy.
And while there are many complicated things we can do to improve customer happiness, it’s often the simplest things that can make the biggest difference.
Recently, I was in Dubai for a couple of weeks. One day, I returned to my room in the Oberoi (just voted the World’s Best Hotel Brand by Travel & Leisure Magazine), to find a note on my bed from the housekeeping staff. They had observed that I would soon run out of toothpaste, and thought I might appreciate a new tube.
I hadn’t even noticed! And yes, I did appreciate it.
The interesting thing about this hotel brand (known for their amazing hospitality and service) is that they discourage guests from tipping individual people in the hotel. So the person who helps you is not even trying to get a tip. It’s just deep in their culture to be thoughtful.
So you can provide training, and come up with systems and processes to improve service but, in reality, just looking for ways to make someone’s life easier is extremely powerful.
It’s not difficult. It’s about thoughtfulness – and the intention to do something special for another human being. Here are a couple of examples…
Years ago, while in conversation with a CEO I worked with, during a retreat in a beautiful waterfront home, I admired a unique piece of art on the wall – it was like a sculpture combined with a painting. Months later, at the next quarterly meeting, I was shocked when it was presented to me as a gift. When I expressed my appreciation to the CEO later, she said that she continually looks for clues for the little things that people may want or desire – and that it is her joy in life to get them for them. She was simply paying attention, and I still remember her thoughtful gesture today.
My wife has an absolute gift for knowing people’s preferences for food and beverages. She knows the favourites and the dislikes of everyone we know, and makes sure we have the right things on hand when they come over. It’s her way of looking after people.
So how can you make this part of your culture? To have people look for the little things that make people happy?
The funny thing is that listening for what people need, and being thoughtful, actually leads to more business and deeper relationships. The best performing salespeople are masterful at this: They listen, they pay attention – and, as a result, are the most successful. (“Extra shoes, and a belt to go with that suit, sir?”) And, as a customer, we appreciate it.
Whether you notice the toothpaste is low, or offer a great tie to go with that suit, or see someone with a problem, just do something to help.
In business, we get so focused on processes and the work we have to do, we often stop doing the extra little things that make a big difference.
Now everyone has different gifts. I don’t have my wife’s kind of thoughtfulness. My gift is to help leaders solve their most pressing challenges. And, in that, I’m insanely thoughtful. If I see someone who has a brutal problem, I jump in to help.
So if you recognize that you aren’t good about the little things that make a big difference, look for people in your company who do, and then make it easier for them to be thoughtful – to bring a little delight – to your customers.