Surprise and Delight

Last week a good friend of mine, Tim Jahn, did an amazing piece on a local non-profit organization, Chicago Street Musicians. In short, CSM celebrates, recognizes, and organizes Chicago-area street musicians by educating the public by providing performance opportunities for street musicians. After watching Tim’s video, I came away with one thought I couldn’t shake – it was the idea of “Suprising and Delighting” your customers.

It’s a theme I’ve read about often and strive to include in everything I do. Think about your own business, your blog, even yourself as an individual – do you strive to go above and beyond what your community expects of you, or are you merely content with satisfaction? If you’re goal is to only meet and not exceed expectation, you’re aiming too low. Do something (it doesn’t take much) to leave a memorable impression on EVERYONE you interact with. To quote a related article:

“Your customer-service policy should be bend-over-backward – Adding features and benefits on a regular basis that surprise and delight your customers. It means getting them accustomed to being delighted every time they buy a product from you.” – Michael Masterson

The Chicago Street Musicians are offering the masses something unique, something unexpected, a breath of fresh air and a smile on a gloomy day, something to tap your feet to when the music inside your head seems lost. It’s something you want to write blogs about. It’s something that deserves to be shared with the world. That’s what the power of the unexpected is all about.

What can YOU do today to surprise and delight your readers and/or customers? How will YOU leave an impact?


26 Responses
  • Emily Jasper Reply

    I once heard a story about a symphony orchestra violinist play in the metro tunnels of DC. He said more was demanded of him there than had ever been when he played in a giant concert hall. You try harder when the commuters walk by, heads down, and you want them to hear you. You want them to take out the earbuds and listen for a minute.

    When you change your surroundings, you could find new challenges to make you better, make you rise to the occaision. Thanks for pointing this out to us today.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great point Emily – something I didn’t even really think about when watching this was having that extra challenge of TRYING to get people’s attention. At a concert, people are paying to see you – you don’t have to try to keep their attention, it’s assumed that if you’re there, you want to be there. With the street musicians, it’s all about coming out of your comfort zone and really having an impact on other people.

      I think it’s an amazing thing that they are doing – It’s little things like this that can completely turn someone’s day around!

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    I once heard a story about a symphony orchestra violinist play in the metro tunnels of DC. He said more was demanded of him there than had ever been when he played in a giant concert hall. You try harder when the commuters walk by, heads down, and you want them to hear you. You want them to take out the earbuds and listen for a minute.

    When you change your surroundings, you could find new challenges to make you better, make you rise to the occaision. Thanks for pointing this out to us today.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great point Emily – something I didn’t even really think about when watching this was having that extra challenge of TRYING to get people’s attention. At a concert, people are paying to see you – you don’t have to try to keep their attention, it’s assumed that if you’re there, you want to be there. With the street musicians, it’s all about coming out of your comfort zone and really having an impact on other people.

      I think it’s an amazing thing that they are doing – It’s little things like this that can completely turn someone’s day around!

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    Thanks for the shout, Matt!

    Surprising and delighting your customers is a must. Monotony can get old after a while. Freshen things up by delivering something positive but unexpected.

    You don’t even necessarily have to lump on the features – think about the small things. Like Zappos randomly upgrading customers to overnight and surprising them. Or sending handwritten thank you cards.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank YOU for the inspiration Tim. Love what Chicago Street Musicians are doing and you did a great job of sharing their story. You are right about monotony, it does get old. We don’t want to continually do business with a company who simply meets our expectations – we want customer service experiences to write home about, to talk about with our friends, blog about, tweet about, etc.

      This is especially important in today’s Web 2.0 world – if we have a bad, or in this case, good customer service experience/interaction, the first thing we do is send out a tweet and update our Facebook status. That online word-of-mouth can be extremely beneficial (or detrimental) to a companies brand. The small things can and really do add up!

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    Thanks for the shout, Matt!

    Surprising and delighting your customers is a must. Monotony can get old after a while. Freshen things up by delivering something positive but unexpected.

    You don’t even necessarily have to lump on the features – think about the small things. Like Zappos randomly upgrading customers to overnight and surprising them. Or sending handwritten thank you cards.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank YOU for the inspiration Tim. Love what Chicago Street Musicians are doing and you did a great job of sharing their story. You are right about monotony, it does get old. We don’t want to continually do business with a company who simply meets our expectations – we want customer service experiences to write home about, to talk about with our friends, blog about, tweet about, etc.

      This is especially important in today’s Web 2.0 world – if we have a bad, or in this case, good customer service experience/interaction, the first thing we do is send out a tweet and update our Facebook status. That online word-of-mouth can be extremely beneficial (or detrimental) to a companies brand. The small things can and really do add up!

  • Lindsey Reply

    Customer service experience that surprised and delighted me? Well in France, customer service is a foreign notion. You’re lucky if someone gives you a smile at the checkout counter even in high-end boutiques. But it is all the more meaningful when I have been shopping or dining in Paris and have received top notch customer service where the server or salesperson was attentive, genuinely caring and warm. This was particularly useful when I was in the market for some new work attire and was having difficulty finding anything in Paris that was appropriate for my age and body type. Since most French women are walking sticks, I often find myself frustrated and despondent by the time I walk out of the dressing room. In one particular store, the saleswoman was not only honest with me, telling me when something I had chosen really did not fit me properly, but gave me suggestions, told me about her struggles in finding clothes that fit and how lovely she thought I was.

    This may not seem like much more than good sales strategy, but in France it means the world. I left feeling confident, reassured with my purchase and with a renewed sense of self. Oh and a little bit more faith in the French :)

    It doesn’t take much, but a little can go quite far.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      That’s interesting Lindsey. Full disclousre: I am completely ignorant when it comes to most cultures outside the states (something I hope to remedy by traveling sooner than later) – but my expectation was that customer service was much better outside the US than here at home. Don’t ask me why that is.

      To your point, we are a society (globally) who is used to mediocrity, which only further illustrates the point that being memorable and leaving a great impression is so easy and takes such little effort. Thanks for sharing your perspective from the other side of the globe!

  • Lindsey Reply

    Customer service experience that surprised and delighted me? Well in France, customer service is a foreign notion. You’re lucky if someone gives you a smile at the checkout counter even in high-end boutiques. But it is all the more meaningful when I have been shopping or dining in Paris and have received top notch customer service where the server or salesperson was attentive, genuinely caring and warm. This was particularly useful when I was in the market for some new work attire and was having difficulty finding anything in Paris that was appropriate for my age and body type. Since most French women are walking sticks, I often find myself frustrated and despondent by the time I walk out of the dressing room. In one particular store, the saleswoman was not only honest with me, telling me when something I had chosen really did not fit me properly, but gave me suggestions, told me about her struggles in finding clothes that fit and how lovely she thought I was.

    This may not seem like much more than good sales strategy, but in France it means the world. I left feeling confident, reassured with my purchase and with a renewed sense of self. Oh and a little bit more faith in the French :)

    It doesn’t take much, but a little can go quite far.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      That’s interesting Lindsey. Full disclousre: I am completely ignorant when it comes to most cultures outside the states (something I hope to remedy by traveling sooner than later) – but my expectation was that customer service was much better outside the US than here at home. Don’t ask me why that is.

      To your point, we are a society (globally) who is used to mediocrity, which only further illustrates the point that being memorable and leaving a great impression is so easy and takes such little effort. Thanks for sharing your perspective from the other side of the globe!

  • Aurora Reply

    from a tweet I posted on October 12th: Schnucks Consumer Affairs Department has the BEST customer service, ever. Answered first ring, apologized, fixed the problem AND was polite.

    I was absolutely “surprised and delighted” by this experience, especially since what I called about was pretty minor. I feel confident that if I were to call with a serious problem or concern it would be handled in the same manner.

    I wish other companies followed Schnuck’s example. I can’t count how many time I’ve been treated poorly by a customer service representative.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Customer service over the phone is, 95% of the time, pretty terrible. So Schnucks has clearly done a heck of a job in training their staff to maintain a positive attitude, even if they may not be having the best day. From the other side of the fence, having experience in the world of retail, it’s no easy task to be asked to put on a happy face 100% of the time (which is probably why I would never survive in that world, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve).

      You’ve illustrated the power good customer service can have. That one experience has now been shared with everyone who follows you on Twitter, everyone reading this blog, and probably in other ways as well. One person TRULY can have an impact on MANY.

  • Aurora Reply

    from a tweet I posted on October 12th: Schnucks Consumer Affairs Department has the BEST customer service, ever. Answered first ring, apologized, fixed the problem AND was polite.

    I was absolutely “surprised and delighted” by this experience, especially since what I called about was pretty minor. I feel confident that if I were to call with a serious problem or concern it would be handled in the same manner.

    I wish other companies followed Schnuck’s example. I can’t count how many time I’ve been treated poorly by a customer service representative.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Customer service over the phone is, 95% of the time, pretty terrible. So Schnucks has clearly done a heck of a job in training their staff to maintain a positive attitude, even if they may not be having the best day. From the other side of the fence, having experience in the world of retail, it’s no easy task to be asked to put on a happy face 100% of the time (which is probably why I would never survive in that world, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve).

      You’ve illustrated the power good customer service can have. That one experience has now been shared with everyone who follows you on Twitter, everyone reading this blog, and probably in other ways as well. One person TRULY can have an impact on MANY.

  • Suzanne Shaffer Reply

    I had to share this GREAT “above and beyond” experience I just had in Las Vegas related to my daughter’s wedding. The contact who was helping us plan the wedding dinner called the person responsible for VIP tables at Studio 54 and got my daughter’s bachelorette party set up with a table on the dance floor and special VIP treatment–at no cost to us or her friends. It was quite a gesture on her part, and one we won’t soon forget. I will be singing this woman’s praises, and everyone at the MGM Grand’s, for many years to come!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Awesome Suzanne – great to hear you had such an outstanding experience. That kind of above-and-beyond action really sticks with you. It’s something that I’m sure will not soon be forgotten!

  • Suzanne Shaffer Reply

    I had to share this GREAT “above and beyond” experience I just had in Las Vegas related to my daughter’s wedding. The contact who was helping us plan the wedding dinner called the person responsible for VIP tables at Studio 54 and got my daughter’s bachelorette party set up with a table on the dance floor and special VIP treatment–at no cost to us or her friends. It was quite a gesture on her part, and one we won’t soon forget. I will be singing this woman’s praises, and everyone at the MGM Grand’s, for many years to come!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Awesome Suzanne – great to hear you had such an outstanding experience. That kind of above-and-beyond action really sticks with you. It’s something that I’m sure will not soon be forgotten!

  • Mari Reply

    Great post! We’re always looking for creative, clever, memorable ways to service our customer. That said, however, we’ve come to recognize that good old-fashioned courtesy, respect, communication, appreciation, and consideration go a long way in this day where those basic principles seem to be on their way out.

    But we’re always looking. So if you have suggestions, please, please let us know! :)

    Love your blog, BTW!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Will do Mari – I’m sure you are already doing some amazing things to have established yourself and your company so well in such a short period of time. IN fact, the “old fashioned” courtesy, respect, communication, appreciation, and consideraton goes a long, long way. That in it of itself can be something that really defines your company and how you operate – because, for the most part, those qualities are never a guarantee.

      Thanks as always for coming by Mari – I hope our paths will cross again soon!

  • Mari Reply

    Great post! We’re always looking for creative, clever, memorable ways to service our customer. That said, however, we’ve come to recognize that good old-fashioned courtesy, respect, communication, appreciation, and consideration go a long way in this day where those basic principles seem to be on their way out.

    But we’re always looking. So if you have suggestions, please, please let us know! :)

    Love your blog, BTW!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Will do Mari – I’m sure you are already doing some amazing things to have established yourself and your company so well in such a short period of time. IN fact, the “old fashioned” courtesy, respect, communication, appreciation, and consideraton goes a long, long way. That in it of itself can be something that really defines your company and how you operate – because, for the most part, those qualities are never a guarantee.

      Thanks as always for coming by Mari – I hope our paths will cross again soon!

  • Walter Reply

    Surprise and delight, it’s challenging. I must admit that this is a no easy task for me but I believe in the wisdom you presented here.

    I will always remember this when I’m in my word processor and I will do my best to make an impact to my readers. I will strive to go above expectations. :-)

  • Walter Reply

    Surprise and delight, it’s challenging. I must admit that this is a no easy task for me but I believe in the wisdom you presented here.

    I will always remember this when I’m in my word processor and I will do my best to make an impact to my readers. I will strive to go above expectations. :-)

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