Byron's Babbles

Opportunities To Personalize

Posted in customer service, Leadership, Servant Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 19, 2019

Dale Presenting Me With M&Ms!

Last spring while attending the 2019 National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Legislative Conference I had an experience involving M&Ms. I chronicled the experience in Leading With No Brown M&Ms. Then, when I arrived at NASBE’s 2019 Annual Conference, I got my normal text from the Hilton Omaha welcoming me and asking me how my room was. I replied it was great and could use a bowl of M&Ms. I shortly got a text back that they did not have any M&Ms. This really by bummed me out. After my experience at The Madison Hotel (also a Hilton Hotel) where I got M&Ms with the brown ones sorted out. I thought the Hilton Omaha should too.

The next morning I was telling the above story in the breakfast buffet line before our board of directors meeting. Never underestimate the power of someone overhearing your conversation. Dale, of the Hilton Omaha catering staff, had overheard the conversation and took it upon himself to get some M&Ms and proceeded to bring me a bowl of M&Ms into our board meeting. I loved every minute of it. Needless to say everyone else was jealous of this personalized treatment I had received. The big story here is the customer service that Dale had provided. He heard my disappointment and made my experience memorable.

IMG_7076Dale’s level of excellence did not stop there, however. He proceeded to have a bowl of M&Ms delivered to every session I was in. I became the hit of whatever sessions I was in as everyone knew I would have M&Ms at every session. Customers have now come to expect remarkable service from every support organization they engage with. And, with that standard set, it becomes even more imperative for your service team to go above and beyond the customer’s expectations. This kind of above-and-beyond service will build great relationships and generate very positive word-of-mouth among your customers. Ultimately, this differentiates us from our competitors.

While it is great for support teams to be able to meet our initial needs, surpassing our expectations is a great way for our organizations to stand out and create a memorable experience. In other words, go above and beyond when it is not expected. Customers who are surprised with expected moments of delight are more likely to be loyal to your brand over time.

IMG_7138Unfortunately, every day won’t present the opportunity to create a customer service story that goes viral, but there is always the opportunity to personalize an experience for a customer. Dale took advantage of this opportunity by going and getting a party size bag of M&Ms and making sure I always had M&Ms available. He even put the bag of the remaining M&Ms in my room this morning. The goal should be for us to create a customer service experience that is valuable to the customer beyond the just the product.


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