Little surprises, make for big smiles

“Enjoy this salad complements of the chef, while he gets your dinner ready. Your food order is going to take another 10 minutes for us to prepare. ” On a lovely weekend getaway to Udaipur, the little touches we experienced at Devigarh, were a lovely reminder on how to delight clients.

We got chatting with the free salad giver. We learnt that most of the vegetables were grown in the kitchen garden. We learnt that there was a village tour on offer (for a fee) and a palace tour as well (which was free). 

A few rocket leaves, some fresh lettuce, baby tomatoes and some cheese and olives, with some lovely salad dressing, got us engaged. This helped Devigarh share with us some of their service offerings. Helped us plan what we wanted to do the next day. Solving, not selling. Solved our hunger pangs. Solved our next day plans. Left us smiling and wanting to explore more of what the beautiful property had to offer.

The next day, we were lounging by the pool side for a few hours. Once again a lovely surprise came our way. A bowl of freshly cut, honey sweet watermelon, served with a sprig of mint. Complements of the pool boy this time. “I thought you would enjoy something small from our side, to freshen up your morning…” We enjoyed the bowl of fruit, but its true power was to make our trip feel all the more special, we felt valued and looked after.

These two little touches stand out. Over and above this, we got an upgrade to a suite. A complementary bottle of Prosecco, a special heart shaped, rose petal Rangoli in our room and a small token gift along with the turn down service. I could go on, from the time we walked in, showered by rose petals, to a wonderful welcome drink on the patio, so many surprises awaited us.

The upgrade and the Prosecco happened because it was our 20th Anniversary and we got booked in by a friend who knows the hotel well. While we are delighted and grateful for this, it’s the salad and the watermelon that wowed us. It was so thoughtful. So well timed. So well delivered. Just when we wanted it. Just when we least expected it. 

What empowers front line staff in the service industry to provide these special little touches that delivered an exquisite client experience? What is the culture of an organisation that cultivates this mindset? How to make your clients go “wow that’s so nice…” at different points of their journey with you? 

I believe it’s a mix of intent and empowerment. Every team member needs to know what the company stands for and is intent on delivering. Then they need to know they can take decisions in service of that objective (limits can be set, like salads, fresh cut fruit, rose petals- for every day surprises, bottles of Prosecco and upgrades for the anniversary special) and then let the smiles begin. 

The power of a little thing to change the way you are feeling is incredible. Back from my wonderful weekend, I was busy on my smart phone, not so smartly waiting for a lift that was never going to arrive. A stranger helped me, he could have just gone about his business, instead, he chose to alert me. We chatted in the elevator on the way up to my office. I walked in with a smile. Wished people. Talked to people. More smiles. Mental health can be impacted by such small things. The domino effect can go both ways. Tiny little thing each domino is. Powerful chain reaction it can unleash. Let the happy dominos dominate your day. Find a place that values you. Find something to be grateful for. Find a reason to pass it forward. 

Happy, helpful, smiling people, make for happy clients. 


The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Vice Chair of Weber Shandwick India. Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.
Nikhil is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF).
He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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