Welcome back to the stage that is all about engaging customers…& yes…Rocking them with great experiences. The video below is a little warm up for today’s topic -staging ‘Customer Surprise’. I should warn you that the video is a little humor R&R, just in case you need a laugh at this point in your day.
Getting Excited About Staging Customer Surprises…..Do You ???
I continue to believe that one of the key approaches to understanding the concept of the customer experience, is to walk in the shoes of the customer. So let’s put on our customer shoes for a minute and talk about surprises..
As always, a couple of questions.
Have you ever been the recipient of a surprise party, or have been a part of staging one ?
One of my most memorable surprises was a 40th Anniversary party my family staged for my mom and dad. This was a big event as our family included not only a large number of siblings (10) but at the time of the event, 40 additional cast members, and VIP’s. (family friends and relatives) Our plans also went to the extreme of including a fake surprise party (actually a picnic) on the day before the main event. The family spent months planning every detail of the event, while getting excited anticipating springing the actual surprise. Since we were in the video production business we even produced a 25-minute family documentary for the main event.
It was a memorable family celebration that is still re-lived by many, years later.
So back to your shoes – Was your surprise party memorable ? Are there any you’ve experienced, that you continue to re-share years later?
You might be asking “where is this post headed?” or “what does this have to do with my customer experience?”
The answer -Great Customer Surprises Create Lasting Memories that are shared through storytelling. We call it Word of Mouth Marketing.
What’s the big deal ?
Why You Should Care ?
- Two separate studies by Mckinsey & Thompson Lightstone suggest that over two thirds of all buying decisions are primarily influenced by word of mouth.
- Designing Customer Surprise is similar to the element of surprise that is written into a great story script. If your customer experience has no element of surprise incorporated into it, it becomes more predictable, been there done that, and therefore not takable.
Joe Pine & Jim Gimore, authors of The Experience Economy argue that “Surprising Customers is perhaps one of the most important ingredients to staging Memorable Customer Experiences.” (Get The Experience Economy Book Here)
When is the last time that a business surprised you ? You may have a difficult time answering that question. I certainly did. Here’s the point.
Incorporating customer surprise is a great way to standout from competition in a world of commoditized goods and services. Using the concept in the real world of business, has proven successful, in attracting attention and creating some incredible buzz (word of mouth) about businesses & brands.
Have you heard of The Morton Steakhouse story ? (Read about it here) I’ll recap it for you. A businessman (Peter Shankman) returning home from a busy travel day, jokingly Tweeted one of his favorite restaurants Morton Steakhouse with this Tweet:
According to Shankman, the Tweet was sent merely as a joke . “Let’s understand: I was joking. I had absolutely no expectations of anything from that Tweet. It’s like how we Tweet “Dear Winter, please stop, love Peter,” or something similar.”
Guess who was at Newark Airport when Shankman landed……. “Alex, from Morton’s Hackensack walks up to me, introduces himself, and hands me a bag. He proceeds to tell me that he’d heard I was hungry, and inside is a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware.
He hands me the bag.
I. Was. Floored.”
Morton’s Customer Surprise made world news. Do a google search and you’ll see the results of how a business can can transcend customer expectations, by going off in new and totally different directions, in their relationships with customers. Let’s be clear Customer Surprise is not about exceeding expectations it’s about staging the unexpected.
‘The Morton Steakhouse Meets Customer Peter Shankman at Airport’ was a great story , and yes, it was shared around the world. Priceless !
To conclude, If you have a unique story of customer surprise pleas share with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts and as always feel free to share this post with your friends.
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