Whenever a customer encounters anyone from your business, what do they want to hear?  In simplest terms, they want to hear “Yes”.  If a customer has a need or a want, hearing “Yes” not only meets their immediate expectations, it also makes them feel special.  Customizing the customer experience for the needs of each individual are things that a few companies excel at.

Costco is always lauded for their exceptional customer experience due to their easy, no-hassle return policy.  If you don’t want something for any reason, they will take it back without issue.  But a less often discussed way that Costco provides winning service is through their willingness to do what any particular customer needs.  If there’s a great deal on jackets but you cannot find your size, a Costco team member will happily go to the extra stock, open up new boxes, and dig until they find what you need.  If you’re looking for something that’s out of stock, they offer to search the inventory of all nearby stores to find the product for you. So while Costco may be a big box store, every team member goes out of their way to ensure the customer’s needs are met and that sets them apart.

Trader Joe’s is another company known for its cheerful, helpful crew members.  But beyond their friendly demeanor, they try to deliver exactly the service that each customer needs.  For instance, the sample counters serve the designated sample of the day, but if a child walks up, they are offered cookies or crackers if that’s more to their liking. If a customer is staring at a product, a crew member might ask if they need a recommendation.  If the customer expresses an interest in trying a product, it may very likely be opened on the spot so that the customer can make an educated purchase and find a product that delights them.

The Four Seasons is known for its luxurious hotels, but they also go out of their way to customize guest experiences.  If a guest would like more pillows, or pillows of a different filling, they’re instantly provided.  If a child is a guest, they’re given toys, a tiny bathrobe, and a fresh cookie.  If a guest would like to exercise and there is not a gym on site, the hotel will arrange access at one conveniently nearby.  Staff is in the business of saying “Yes” to ensure each guest has their best experience.

Not every business is large or occupies a brick and mortar location, but the essence of what makes these businesses exceptional in their service is universal: an unrelenting commitment to treating every “case” as an opportunity to meet unique needs.  The willingness to take the time to notice those needs and then tailor the response provided is the highest form of flattery a business can pay to a customer as it conveys that they are unique and deserving of the extra effort a personalized experience requires.  How can you tailor experiences to perfectly fit your own customers?