Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Those little extras

David Warlick has taken to rating airports. He spends a lot of time in them, so this is fair enough. And it's the provision of the little extras that make a service memorable to customers. A few examples from my own experience.

There was a time when I visited coffee shops several times a week. Usually with my best mate, Lynda. At the time, Lynda had a small child who used to come with us. We rated coffee shops on how well they catered for mothers with small kids - which, during office hours, was likely to represent a significant proportion of their clientele. The one we liked the most offered a 'Moms-and-tots' cappuccino. Well, think about it. If you're drinking a cappuccino with a small child on your lap, the small child annexes your froth, and you wind up getting just the coffee. So this place gave mothers (and presumably fathers) with post-baby-pre-school children a little plastic cup containing milk froth with chocolate sprinkles for the child, so that the parent could enjoy the froth off their own drink. Clever.

The last two cars my husband owned in South Africa were both Hyundais. You got a lot of extra bits of car for your money if you bought a Hyundai back then. That was great in itself. But, they also had this desire to see every Hyundai on the road looking spruce. So they offered a free valet service. Once a week, I drove the car down to the dealer, and sat in their lounge drinking free coffee, eating free biscuits and looking at their promotional material (video and print) while they cleaned the car. Marvellous.

What little extras can we offer? How can we show that we have our clients' best interests at heart?

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