August 2017

Delight Your Customers: Be a Sock-Knocker-Offer

2017-08-19T19:45:52+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Have you ever wished someone… Or perhaps someone has offered you the words of encouragement… “Knock their socks off!”

It means to wow or amaze someone. To go beyond what is expected.

The saying originates from boxing – when you bop your opponent so hard, you nearly knock them out of their socks.

No Socks
Unfortunately – and far too often – experiences are delivered short of expectations.

  • The meal was tasty, but the service was slow.
  • The camera takes great pictures, but the battery doesn’t last very long.
  • I’m having trouble with my credit card – luckily they have a 24-hour service number. When I called it, the recording said it would be a 32-minute wait.

I’m sure you have many similar examples.

As a customer – we love to have our socks knocked off. And, the good news as a marketer, business owner, or customer experience manager is that customers rarely expect it.

However, fixing the restaurant service, creating a battery power system that works, or properly staffing customer hotlines is NOT knocking someone’s socks off. Those actions are simply doing your job… Delivering what you’re supposed to deliver.
Sock-knocking-offing goes beyond.

To knock their socks off, you provide more than the required “AND” – you go beyond with two or three ANDs.

  • The food was great, AND the service was very friendly, AND they knew it was our anniversary AND treated us to free wine and a dessert.
  • With this camera, it is easy to take great pictures, AND the battery lasts forever, AND it came with a cleaning kit and case.
  • The credit card company has a hotline, AND it is open 24-hours, AND you immediately reach a human.
    Here… try to complete the below sentence, and see for yourself.

“We provide ________________ AND ________________, the full experience for our customers. We don’t stop there, however… AND we ________________. That’s how we knock their socks off.”

Is your company being a sock-knocker-offer? Are you doing both part one AND part two – the necessary requirements? Do you go beyond with more than one AND?

October 2015

Helicopter View, Customer Service Technique

2015-10-14T15:22:35+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , |

One of the challenges for staff in a store or restaurant, in delivering great customer experiences, is to anticipate customer needs.

Delivering this high level of service involves being so tuned-in to customers, you can answer questions before they even ask.

Whether it’s noticing someone scratching their heads… looking quizzically at your merchandise, or a patron at your restaurant with a nearly empty glass… service success requires quick response to queues.

Helicopter ViewA few years ago, I was speaking with the owner of a restaurant in Amsterdam. He explained one of the secrets to his success is taking a “helicopter view.”

This is the ability to metaphorically hover above the restaurant (or store), get a wide view, and see everything going on at once. It provides customer service peripheral vision.

From the flight deck, Arne is able to simultaneously notice guests as they approach the front door of the restaurant, top off a glass of wine at the bar, and see that the customer at table 5 is ready for their check.

This metaphor may serve as an easy-to-remember tool for employees to get a whirly-bird’s eye view on what needs attention on your sales floor.

August 2009

Friendly Falafel

2009-09-25T15:05:29+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Maoz Logo

For lunch today, I popped into Maoz Vegetarian restaurant for falafel. It’s really good. (Seth Godin raves about the place – calls it the best falafel in the world!)

They serve fresh hot falafel, on warm pita bread, with delicious hummus, and let you slather on your own toppings. Always delicious.

An aside…

In Europe everyone takes cash, fewer vendors take check cards (or the ‘PIN card’ as they call it in Amsterdam), and even fewer take credit cards.

…back to the story.

When I ordered, I asked the guy at Maoz if they take the PIN card. I thought they did, but didn’t see the card reader. He said, “No, cash only.”

“Whoops!” I said, “I’ll be right back I need to get cash.” There is an ATM around the corner.

“No, no… don’t worry.” He said, like a caring mom… “Why don’t you eat first?” He didn’t want my hot falafel to get cold.

To me this was remarkable.

  • (A)He trusted me. He treated me like a person, not like a random customer or potential thief. He didn’t hold my food hostage until I paid him.
  • (B)He wanted me to have a great, hot lunch. Though I would only have taken two minutes to get the cash, he wanted me to eat it while it was hot.

So I ate, left, and haven’t gone back to pay!!!


As usual it was delicious. However, three additional things happened with this visit.

  • Lunch was tastier served by a “friend.” I felt welcome.
  • I’ll visit Maoz more than I otherwise would have.
  • And I’m telling you about it! Spreading the good word.

January 2008

Great Happens, It’s Tough to Always Be Good

2017-03-01T11:56:54+00:00 Categories: grow|Tags: |

In Steve Martin’s memoir, Born Standing Up, Steve shares the challenge of trying to consistently provide a “good” performance.

I see a direct relationship between what Steve comments about and the same concept in business… specifically customer service.

The consistent work enhanced my act. I learned a lesson. It was easy to be great. Every entertainer has a night when everything is clicking. These nights are accidental and statistical. Like lucky cards in poker, you can count on them occurring over time.

What was hard… was to be good. Consistently good. Night after night, no matter what the abominable circumstances.

[click play to hear Steve]
How does your business consistently provide “good” service no matter what abominable circumstances?

September 2006

Put Yer Customer Needs First

2017-08-19T16:08:22+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , |

Let’s say ye be a shipbuilder fer swashbucklers an’ ye want t’ stay innovative.

As ye watch th’ trends ye notice that yer competitor pirate shipbuilders be addin’ larger cannons t’ the’r ships t’ aid th’ swashbucklers. Swashbucklers seem t’ need more fire power.

Do ye immediately add larger cannons t’ yer ships? `Tis expensive. ‘t will take time t’ re-tool yer factory.

By diggin’ deeper an’ meetin’ directly wi’ yer customers, ye`ll reveal that th’ problem be that the’r current ships be nay fast enough t’ sail away from a port ‘ere they jus’ pillaged. So instead o’ a swift get-away, they’s forced t’ repel wi’ firepower. Further discussion reveals that they be makin’ several trips to th’ cove t’ take all th’ loot an’ booty.

Finally, ye uncover th’ current cargo area fer food an’ grog t’ain’t typically filled t’ capacity. They dasn’t need huge stores o’ food on accoun’ o’ they re-stock when they plunder a village.

What they really need be faster ships wi’ more cargo room.

So in response t’ yer swashbuckler customer needs ye increase th’ size o’ th’ sails, an’ make th’ cargo hold bigger by reducin’ th’ size o’ th’ food storage space.

Ye be havin’ learned yer lesson in creative problem solvin’, listenin’ t’ yer customer an’ stayin’ innovative.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!