Be the Holiday Gift this Season

This is the season for joy, love, and kindness—yet it seems like a holiday miracle when you get any joy, love, and kindness as you are out shopping for holiday gifts.

I was at a huge warehouse store last week. It was a bit wild. There were rabid sample-seekers, last minute bargain hunters, multitudes of screaming children, and people with lists and carts and flatbeds a mile long, trying to find everything they needed. Emotions were running high and products were running out. Some examples from my personal experience included:

  • Early in my shopping, I found a great sweatshirt for my son and put it in my cart. Moments later, as I was looking through the mass of books on the book table, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a lady actually removing the sweatshirt from my cart! That’s one way of shopping, I guess. I sure hope it was the size she needed. 
  • Another person grabbed a lasagna sample when I was clearly reaching for it—my hand was literally an inch away from the little cup. Hey! That was my bite!  Of course it was the last sample and the next batch of lasagna had ten minutes left on the timer.
  • Someone else bashed me in the ankle with their humongous solid iron flatbed cart. Fa la la la la, la la la la!

What kind of lasting memories do you think these experiences might have left with me? Aggravation? Anger? Frustration? Actually, as it turned out, none of these. For me, the most vivid memories of the day were the gifts provided by four different people—who all happened to be employees of the store.

  • The first angel was working in the clothing department. She came sprinting over when she saw the woman take the sweatshirt out of my cart, and said, “We have more of those—what size was that? I see your confusion. I’ll go get one for you right away.” Really?  
  • Then, during the speedy checkout process, the cashier asked me, “How was your week?” and “How do you like this product?” She seemed to be so interested in me at that moment. Even though she was routinely scanning products through the register, her total focus seemed to be on me and making me feel cared for and important.
  • On my way out, I stopped at the member service area to get my picture taken for my membership card. After the gentleman took my picture, I asked him how it looked and he replied, “In my 15 years here, I have never seen such a beauty!” Oh yeah, make my day!
  • And then the person at the door, who I’m sure marks off hundreds of customer receipts each day, took the time to say, “I love how healthy everything is that you bought. You must love your family very much.”

So what do you notice about each one of these people? They personalized their interaction with me, showed they cared, and noticed something unique about me from my world and my life. They did their job with great skill, but then went the extra mile to leave a lasting memory and connection, to build a relationship with me.

Create a memory

Take a moment to consider your interactions with your customers and think, “How could I notice the person behind the customer?”  Emotions are high during the holiday season and this could be your best chance to leave a lasting memory. Leverage the time; share the love!

Happy holidays!

Editor’s Note: This guest post by Vicki Halsey is the second in a series looking at exceeding customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Vicki, together with Kathy Cuff, are the principal authors of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Legendary Service training program.  It will appear on the second Thursday of each month.

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