The Parable Of The Cup Holder – The Power Of An “Unexpected Plus” (Customer Service 201)
So I was meeting with a group of account managers in a local company, helping them up their level of customer service. Good people, who know their product, their company, their customers. But they want to do better, to become better at what they do, to help their customers be much more than just satisfied – they want to delight their customers. Because a delighted customer is “sticky,” and will want to keep their relationship going with this company that so readily exceeds their needs and desires.
In the midst of this session, I told the story of one of the greatest innovations of all time – the cup holder. I’m old enough to remember cars without cup holders (I also remember cars with AM radios, which had to “warm up” as you turned them on. Those were the good old days!)
Anyway, I called the cup holder an “unexpected plus.” You buy a car, you get a cup holder. It was a wonder! – How did we ever survive driving a car without a cup holder?
And then, in the blink of an eye, every car had a cup holder. And now, no one in their right mind would buy a car without one – but don’t worry, there are no cars without cup holders.
So here’s the message. Whatever your business, ask yourself this question: what is the “unexpected plus” I can throw into the mix to delight my customer? Then, add that “unexpected plus,” and your customer will be delighted.
But, beware, once you add this “unexpected plus,” it becomes the new “minimum level” of service/product, and then you have to ask “what is the next ‘unexpected plus’” to add to the mix? And the cycle repeats…
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