How To Go From Ordinary to Extraordinary For Your Customers

| December 17, 2013 | 12 Comments

When business is slow, you can either complain about the lack of business, or decide to be extraordinary and deliver a remarkable experience for your existing customers. Seeking opportunities to be extraordinary has the power to create a remarkable experience for your existing customers. When you create that remarkable experience, it just might turn your customer into a raving fan, as well as a repeat and referral customer. A recent experience brought to life the idea that something as ordinary as a cup of tea can create a remarkable experience.

I recently spoke at an event in Austin, Texas and checked into the Westin at The Domain. The first morning, I headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I planned to order the breakfast buffet, which suggests that I would just help myself and be on my own.

The restaurant was not very busy. Tammy, my waitress, took my order for the breakfast buffet. She offered a detailed explanation of the bounty of options available. She explained that if anything sounded good, all I needed to do was to ask her and she would be happy to serve it. I also ordered a cup of hot tea.

Waiters and Waitresses Hate Serving Tea

From my days in college waiting tables, I know that most restaurant servers loathe when a guest orders hot tea. To a waiter or waitress, hot tea is a pain in the rear compared to coffee. Coffee they pour into a cup – done! With tea, they have to bring the customer the tea bag, the pot of water, and the cup. The pot of water gets cold quickly.  So, it can take on a life of its own. It’s been 25 years since I waited tables, and I still have angst about ordering tea.

Seek Opportunities to Delight the Customer

Tammy made serving tea an experience. Repeatedly, she felt the temperature on the outside of the teapot, and would return with a fresh pot. Instead of ordering my omelet at the buffet, Tammy offered to take my order tableside. Earlier she noticed I took some pepper-jack cheese from the buffet, so she brought a bottle of hot sauce with my omelet saying “I see that you like spicy things, so I brought this just in case.” She removed the cap from the hot sauce bottle and the table. Why should I have to worry about the cap, after all?

I felt completely taken care of at the restaurant, it seemed Tammy had thought of everything.  Toward the end of the meal, Tammy brought a muffin on a plate and said “The pastry chef is fantastic. It would be a shame if you did not try this muffin during your visit.”  She was correct. When I requested my check, Tammy brought me a fresh to-go cup of tea without me ordering it.

What Is the Lesson?

Tammy taught a great lesson on how to be extraordinary with a customer. Recognizing customers expect that a breakfast buffet is self-service, Tammy looked for opportunities in ordinary areas that most would take for granted. In doing so, she created a remarkable experience for her customer.

I often hear company executives who claim that there is nothing they can do to be remarkable. They tell me that the service they offer is mundane. Tammy turned an omelet and cup of tea into an incredible experience that compelled me to share the story. Instead of going through the motions and doing only what was required, Tammy took pride in delivering something extraordinary. She could have complained that the restaurant was not busy that morning. Instead, she delivered a memorable and sharable experience simply by going a couple steps beyond what we have come to expect.

It’s Your Turn

Each day in your business, you have an opportunity to create an amazing experience from something that your customers might otherwise take for granted. Share one or two things in the comment section that you can do to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary? If you share it, there is a good chance you might actually do it.

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Category: Customer Service, Grow Revenue, Sales Eduction, Sales Tip, Same Side Selling, Upside-Down Selling

Comments (12)

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  1. danielle says:

    Phenomenal and timely post, Ian! Lots of griping today from individuals about our industry. This falls in line with my comments today about differentiating ourselves. Great Post!!

  2. John Yager says:

    Awesome blog post Ian! She could have spent the time in the kitchen doing nothing!

    • Ian Altman says:

      Too often, when business is slow, you can spend time complaining instead of creating something remarkable for the customers who are there. Thanks for sharing.

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