Outstanding Service? Surprise! It’s Personal

In Chip and Dan Heath’s bestselling book, Made To Stick, the Heaths talk about what makes ideas sticky, or hard to forget.

One thing that’s especially sticky is the unexpected.

People love surprises.

And when the surprise goes above and beyond the norm, it stands out.

The result:  Outstanding Customer Service.

I got a wonderfully sticky surprise in the mail today.

Because it was so unexpected, and so out of the ordinary, I was tremendously impressed.

Frequent readers will know I’m not easily impressed.

So what possible mailed item could have such high Wow factor?

A personal letter.

From my seven year old son’s summer camp counselor.

Alexander  just finished up a two-week session at our local YMCA day camp last Friday.

Today, I received a half-page typed letter  from his counselor, Ashley.

This was no form letter.

Ashley spent the better part of the letter singing Alexander’s praises, such as:

 He is easily one of the best-behaved children in the bunch.  His favorite activity was archery, and he aimed well enough to pop balloons on the targets.

Smart person, that Ashley.  What parent doesn’t like to get individualized feedback about the strengths of their child?

By the time the letter closed, Ashley completely won me over.  This is when she made her (soft) Ask. She wrote,

I hope that he joins us next week at camp, because there is much more for him to learn and explore here, and our entire staff would love to have him back.  But, if another session isn’t in the plan, I hope he has a great school year in the first grade!

Well done, Ashley!

Even though the extra week of camp won’t work out with our schedules, does Ashley’s letter cement the idea of going back next year?  It certainly does for me.

Will I tell my friends about this letter?  Absolutely.

Rare is the personalized thank you these days.

I think of all the classes, camps and programs my kids have attended over  the years.

This is the first letter like this I’ve ever received.

As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but notice when I audibly said “Wow!” to my empty kitchen.

That’s impact.

In our age of information and automation, people still yearn for genuine personal contact.

Where could you stand to surprise and delight your customer?


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