Inspired by my experience with Subaru, I’ve been playing around with some out-of-the-box customer service ideas. One of my favorite ways to connect to customers is with food – muffins to be exact. Food is always a welcome perk, but I bank on the idea that the homemade variety seems extra special. So over the last few months, I’ve been bringing muffins to every team meeting with a particular client. While the muffins are appreciated for the taste, they enable us to get the psychological benefits of breaking bread – literally – together, and begin meetings discussing something other than business.
It’s important to note that every batch (banana nut, banana chocolate, pumpkin nut, pumpkin chocolate and zucchini to date) had enough muffins for all of the team members and the company receptionist. The receptionist’s job is difficult, stressful and overlooked far too often. By including her in the muffin mania, I have gained a permanent ally, eager to help me schedule meetings or track someone down.
Another way I’ve been experimenting with customer love is to present them with unique, work-related gifts. For example, during the course of a recent project, we noticed that one of our primary stakeholders had morphed from a data manager to a “data goddess,” analyzing large sets of data to gain better insight into her company’s sales and revenues. (For those of you that don’t know, I work for Mariner, a company that specializes in building business analytics applications.) She had literally changed her vocabulary and how she approached her job. We knew that this metamorphosis called for some special recognition. That’s when I decided to comb the Internet for just the right gift. We settled on a mug that said, “Don’t make the data goddess angry!” filled it with candy and topped it off with a colorful bow. As you can imagine, the reaction from the data goddess and the other team members team was worth the effort. Everyone got a kick out of the gift and enjoyed seeing her get this well-deserved recognition in a fun way.
How are you taking customer service to the next level? I’d love to know!