Surprise and delight.
Some people have a word of the year, these are the words of my life. I learned the phrase years ago while working for The Walt Disney Company where we were encouraged to do whatever it took to make a guest happy. We spent an entire week in training on guest experience and how to create magic before we were allowed to even see our first guest.
As a tour guide in the backstage areas of one of the parks, my guest service skills would be tested by managers embedded in my hour-long tours to ask difficult questions and see how I would respond. How could I surprise and delight a guest who was sick of walking and didn’t want to stay with the group in the highly secured backstage production areas?
As a Disney Store manager a few years later, secret shoppers would come into the store to make outrageous requests just to see how we’d respond and how we could make them happy within the parameters of what we were allowed to do. It was Disney’s way of making sure we took the guest experience very seriously and worked to make everyone as happy as possible.
Great customer service used to be a hallmark of a terrific company. I think we can all agree that in recent years, the customer service experience has really taken a hit.
Luckily, as online business owners, we have the power to be different in how we interact with our customers and clients online. We are our own bosses, we make the decisions. We have the power to surprise and delight.
In an increasingly online world where we can go days without interacting with a person face to face, it has become so easy to believe the worst of people. More and more often I see posts in online Facebook groups where people want to know how to hide their videos, protect their free pdfs, or make sure no one is sharing something they’ve created. It seems that we’ve gotten so worried about someone getting something that they haven’t paid or given us credit for, that we’ve lost sight of why we have online businesses at all.
Is it to make money? Or is it to make peoples’ day?
For many businesses it’s both but I fear that in the years of living behind our computers we’ve gotten the two out of order. If our purpose is to help people first, I truly believe the money part will follow. That’s how I choose to run my business. To constantly look for opportunities to go one step further, to do the thing no one is expecting.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a customer who’d just purchased one of my low-ticket offers for $19.
He said he was sorry, but the offer wasn’t what he expected and asked for a refund.
I responded by not only refunding his money, but letting him keep the item he’d purchased. He, of course, was delighted, and we had a back and forth email conversation where I asked how the product could be better, and he happily engaged.
Will he buy something from me again in the future? Only time will tell.
But here’s what I know:
I wasn’t going to get rich off of that one sale. It’s a digital product. It’s not something that I have to physically pay for each time someone buys one from me. Would I like to make the sale, sure. But honestly, more important to me is that I am able to help someone else launch.
Would I feel differently if this had been my $1997 signature course? Of course. I do what I can to protect my assets and can usually tell when someone is trying to just take advantage of me. But when it comes to daily interactions with people, I’ve chosen to believe that people aren’t just out to get me. I’ve chosen to help when I can, and create magic whenever I’m given the opportunity.
A few years ago I heard an online marketer known for her multi-million dollar launches say that when someone complains about something she’s done, instead of blocking them, removing them from her group or unsubscribing them from her list, she reaches out to them to start a conversation. Often she offers them one of her other products as a way to help them further. She chooses kindness.
Does it always work? No. Does it work often enough that it’s her path of choice when dealing with difficult people? Yes.
As business owners we all have the ability, we all have the opportunity. How we handle situations is up to us. I choose surprise and delight.