Overwhelming courtesy

Aaron Holmes

Monday, July 21 2014

Going all the way with service can have a huge upside.

If you’ve ever had an experience that completely demolished your expectations, you’ll have a sense for what this is about. Between all the forgettable experiences that one was worth remembering.

This is the kind of experience you get when people really care about what they’re doing, and doing their best to help make your experience the best they can.

This is the kind of thing that luxury hotels can do well, but fancy rooms and expensive food isn’t enough. It might not even be necessary.

For someone’s first experience with anything, there is a journey from uncertainty and apprehension to an understanding of what the place is about.

In those first moments, making people really feel welcome can set the tone for a wonderful experience. It’s the unexpected gestures and the personal connection that create an experience worth remembering.

An unexpected glass of water in a clothing store made me disappointed I couldn’t justify a $100 t-shirt. A receptionist who followed up a delightful introductory ‘how to get here’ email by insisting on making me the good coffee set a work visit off on the right foot. Though the bus was good enough for the trip there, they insisted on driving me back.

In business, this overwhelming courtesy takes work. The work takes paying attention and takes thinking. What would help? What would solve a problem they don’t realize they have? What would blow their minds? Then do that.