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I recently attended a friend’s destination birthday party in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He booked a large oceanfront house with room for all his guests to stay with him and his family. I don’t know how much he paid to rent the house, but I’m sure it set him back plenty.
The food was great, the house was well-staffed, the rooms were nice, and the views were stunning. That being said, I expected nothing less than exceptional considering how much my friend forked over to reserve these topline accommodations. However, that wasn’t what made the trip so memorable. What made the trip memorable was an unexpectedly good service experience I had.
Early one morning, after finishing my gym workout on the ground floor of the house, I went to rinse off my hair in the outdoor showers by the side of the house. I just put my head under the nozzle to cool off, and when I emerged, the man who was cleaning the pool came over and offered me a towel.
Why was this so memorable? First, it wasn’t the pool cleaner’s job to tend to the outdoor showers. Also, the shower I used wasn’t visible from the pool area where the man was working. He must have heard me rinsing off and went out of his way to see if he could make my stay more comfortable.
The pool cleaner’s kind gesture didn’t cost the resort any money. It only took 30 seconds out of his day, but it made a big impression on me because it was the only part of my high-end resort experience that I didn’t expect. And I’ve been telling everyone about it ever since.
What CPAs can learn from conscientious resort workers
When you’re trying to figure out how to deliver more value to clients so you can charge them higher fees, your new standard needs to be “unexpected delight.” Because that’s all they’re going to talk about.
Think about your very best clients. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more like them? One of the best ways to replicate your best clients is to have them talking about you to their friends and business owner acquaintances. But, in order to do that, you have to give them something to talk about.
It’s great that your work is always delivered on time and that your numbers are always right. But clients have come to expect that. It’s a story they can share with their friends. It’s not going to make you stand out in a competitive landscape that’s always evolving.
Again, the pool cleaner went out of his way. Helping me wasn’t part of his job description, and he took extra steps to see if he could offer me something to make my stay just a little bit better. That’s a story people tell.
It’s like the unexpectedly great dining experience I shared in my article Find your client’s key lime pie. That experience resonated with me because the server went above and beyond to make my meal exceptional. He didn’t have to go down the street and buy me the special dessert I wanted, just because his restaurant was out of it. But it was worth the effort. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve referred to that restaurant because of one kind gesture by the staff. It’s the little stuff, the totally unexpected, that can make the biggest difference.
At your weekly meetings, ask everyone at your firm to share a key lime pie experience they’ve done on behalf of a client. You should be able to come up with at least one key lime pie story per month and make sure all of your clients and prospects hear about it. If your team can’t come up with at least one key lime story per month, they can share a great client experience they had from outside the firm. People never get tired of hearing stories about those who go above and beyond to deliver exceptional customer/client experiences. It’s become increasingly rare in our society, but a great way for you and your team to stand out.
What is your firm doing to deliver an exceptional or unexpected experience of your clients? I’d love to hear from you.