Friday, August 24, 2007

Fortune Cookie Says....Customers and Friends For Life

One of my favorite sayings when I give a talk, do a corporate training or coach a client goes something like this.....

"People seldom remember what you said. People rarely remember what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel."

I guess it was about a year ago that this little Chinese food restaurant called Hunan Ranch opened up near our house. My entire family became instant fans because the food was so good. We easily went there for lunch or dinner a few times a month. That was...until we discovered FREE DELIVERY. I am quite positive we will have to take a second mortgage out on the house to pay for all these Chinese food cravings that now seem to strike without warning and come with complete disregard for our household eating budget.

To be perfectly honest we started ordering more regularly for another reason than it was easy, we were lazy and the delivery was free. No...we ordered for the delivery guy. Perhaps the greatest delivery guy ever!

The first time the delivery guy showed up to our house with our order he struck a cord with my youngest son Josh. He showered him with atttention as my wife paid for our order. His playful way of connecting with Josh who is four mind you, was hard to ignore. He affectionately called Josh his "little buddy" and Josh swelled with pride at the sound his new nickname.

Every delivery since has only gotten better. Josh and the delivery guy have become very good friends! The delivery guy, whom I am ashamed to admit we don't know his name (yet), always inquires about where "his buddy Josh is" and it has become sort of a game for Josh to hide out and jump out to give "his" buddy a big strapping hug. The delivery guy eats it up and really seems to enjoy it too.

I am convinced we get our orders faster than anyone else and I won't swear to it but I think our portions some how get super sized! Plus he always seems to have a few extra fortune cookies for both of my boys that just so happen to come with each hug. My oldest son Zachary even has gotten into the act of hugging and high fiving the guy when he comes with our delivery. It's quite a sight to see them blast down the stars when they hear the doorbell and see who gets to give a hug first.

Each delivery is fun to watch and by and large would be enough to keep us loyal customers forever. But it was something that happened the other day that just blew me away and made me want to share this with you.

Kathy and Zach were about to go pick up Josh from daycare when there was knock on the door. Kathy answered the door and there stood our favorite delivery driver complete with a big old smile on his face. He said he hoped he wasn't disturbing her but that he just wants to stop and say hello to his favorite customers. He asked Zachary where his "other buddy" was and Zach explained Josh was still at school. Zach said he seemed a little bit sad to have missed Josh because out from behind his back came a handful of fortune cookies that he had hoped to give to them both.

He had just stopped by to give them to Josh and Zach.

No order had been placed.

No reason to make a stop other than an intentional act of kindness that was guaranteed to make two little boy's day!

An act that has since become legendary in the old Harper household.

Talk about customer service! We were already guaranteed customers but now Hunan Ranch has evangelistic customers that will hopefully bring many, many more customers to this great little restaurant. Though I must admit I suspect our days of ever eating there are over....the kids won't hear of it. They only want delivery!

Customer service over an above the call of duty and an act that I bet leaves even Confucius speechless.

So if you are running a business, working with customers or simply have a chance to impact someone's day, what kind of Fortune Cookie act might you conjure up?'s a secret....your customers will swell with adoring pride, just like Zach and Josh do, simply because you did something unique and memorable.

Talk about a Ripple.

Ripple On!!!



terri said...

Strange coincidence... we have a Hunan Garden near our house and we order take-out so often that they know us by name and I'm pretty sure we could call up and say, "The usual, please," and they would have it perfect. We often find extra fortune cookies, or a couple of eggrolls (something new.. we thought you might want a free sample, wink, wink...)There's no delivery, but we have also eaten in the restaurant and the service is spectacular! You're right, it's the kind of service that goes above and beyond and keeps us coming back and spreading the word about what a great place it is.

Liz said...

What a fantastic post. I read somewhere that if you are kind to a customer's family that you build more loyalty than if you just offer good service to your customer. Based upon your post I believe it! Thanks for the uplifting post.