I am a regular at a coffee shop near my house here in Fort Wayne. I often claim a table in the back corner as my mobile office a couple days a week. There are better places for coffee in town, but I keep going back to the same place for one reason; the EXPERIENCE. Many of the employees in this shop call me by name and know my regular order. They joke around with me and ask about my day. They make my visits an experience by going beyond what I expect when I walk in the door. I expect to give them money and receive a cup of coffee in return. They meet that expectation, then exceed it with the other stuff.
The best businesses understand this. Customers will buy your stuff if it is good or cheap, but neither of those things create loyalty. There is always someone else who can do it just as good or just as cheap. Customers become loyal when their experience goes beyond the exchange of money. It doesn’t take much, but a little extra effort makes all the difference.
My family are not my customers. The relationship is different, but I think there is something worth paying attention to in this simple customer service principle. What is the extra effort — however simple — I could exercise to strengthen the EXPERIENCE of being part of our family? Are there ways I might express how much I treasure them? The short answer to both of these questions is YES! Here are couple of simple ideas I’m working on to help me exceed their expectations and be a better husband and dad:
- TURN OFF MY PHONE: I’m easily distracted by the tones and buzzes that come from my devices. What if I put those things away from the time I get home from work until the kids go to bed? No email. No text messages. No phone calls. My family understands I need to give other people my attention. They expect there are going to be times when my attention gets diverted. I’m a pastor. I work with people. It’s going to happen. But what if I could exceed their expectations by setting aside time to be available to ONLY THEM for a few hours each day? Would the effort make a difference? You bet!
- GO TO BED: I stay up too late. I rationalize it by calling it introvert time. I’m an introvert and I need time by myself to refuel. Too often these late nights aren’t times of refreshment. I stay up late surfing the internet or scanning Facebook with sitcom re-runs playing in the background. I don’t get enough sleep. What if I went to bed at a reasonable time? When I’m tired, I’m less productive at work. I’m too short with my kids. I’m not as attentive to Michelle as I could be. My family understands. They don’t expect me to be perfect. But what if I could exceed their expectations by resting well and reserving energy to offer them the best of who I am? Wouldn’t that be worth it? Definitely!
The simple hospitality exercised by the staff at my coffee shop elevates the experience. It makes a difference. They exceed my expectations and it keeps me coming back. I know I can’t be a perfect dad or husband or friend; that’s not the point. But I can do simple things that make a difference.
These are a couple of things I am working on. What about you? Be sure to post your comments below.