The element of surprise is an incredibly effective tool.
From spy movies to central bank economic policy, to comedy, the surprise can be wielded to achieve great results––and business is no different! Here are a few ways you can start surprising your customers.
Value in Unexpected Places
For a consumer, it doesn’t get much better than receiving more than what was expected. When thought of as value added, even the smallest things can make a huge difference for customers and often end in their reciprocation of the gesture.
A fascinating example of this is a study on restaurant customers tipping habits. The study found that, on average, restaurant patrons tipped 21% more after being given mints by their waiter. That small, unexpected gesture doesn’t cost the restaurants more than a few cents but, when accompanied by the element of surprise, can make a huge difference to customers.
The ‘freebie’ is a classic example of providing unexpected value, but companies are exploring all sorts of new ways to do this. Try to think out of the box and start surprising your customers.
Superior Customer Experience
The customer experience is a long tail game nowadays. Starting from the moment customers begin interacting with your company to the last email they receive, the full customer experience provides many opportunities to be a cut above the competition.
Archival Clothing is known for using consumer data to improve their customer’s shopping experience. Having noticed that an international customer had abandoned their online shopping cart after seeing the shipping rates, Archival reached out preemptively to help the consumer find a solution. Their exchange ended up circulating the internet widely, impressing everyone with the lengths they were willing to go for their customer.
Farfetch is another great example of superior customer service. They focus on helping fashion brands seamlessly integrate offline and online transactions in a unified experience. According to TechCrunch, Farfetch “connects directly to brand’s inventory and provides impeccable customer support with in-store pick-ups, same-day deliveries in major cities (powered by Deliv), pick-up service if you want to return an item and more.”
A Sincere Thank You
Business transactions too frequently become just that-–business transactions. Adding a little empathy to your customer relationship and surprising your customers with a sincere thank you note can go a long way.
If you can afford the time, a handwritten note is one of the most accessible (and affordable) means of engaging with customers. Technology has too quickly made the handwritten note almost obsolete––but its rarity is what makes it so useful.
If you don’t have the time to sit down and put pen to paper, companies like Bond offer “handwritten” notes at scale as a service. While they only appear to be handwritten, the notes that Bond offers show that you’re making an extra effort to have a sincere interaction
Mastering the art of (a good) surprise takes thoughtful consideration and deliberate practice. Learn what your customers want and find impactful ways to deliver it. It’s a simple gesture, but they’ll notice. Best of luck!