A Happy Customer is a Spread-the-Word Customer, at Any Time of the Year

There’s a little take-away in each of these for your business, too. Put these lessons to use, and create refreshing Customer Experiences all year round.

1. QVC off-air.

I don’t normally watch QVC but when I read “off-air” on my cable guide on Christmas Eve, I actually switched to the station to see if it was so. For a few minutes, I watched a nice gentleman talking to two children about Christmas and Santa Claus. It was so unexpected, to me, for any station to stop doing its business, but as I listened to the charming conversation, it occurred to me that (a) they probably do this every year and I’m the last to know; (b) bricks-and-mortar stores take the day off, it’s nice that they do, too; (c) this must really be heartwarming to their employees, as well. Now I didn’t get deep into the subject to check if telephone employees or online support take the day off, but even if they’ve still got to work, the volume must be much lighter (meaning less staff needed) with no one hawking anything for 24 hours. Like Chick-fil-A and Franklin Covey, who close on Sundays, it’s a public statement of valuing just a little family time for employees (and customers) more than squeezing one extra dollar out of the waning year. Cheers.

2. Toll booths Christmas week.

I make the drive back and forth from north Delaware to northern New York at least a dozen times a year, and believe me, I noticed the difference this week. To a person, every toll booth attendant had a kind word and looked me in the eye, and even the ever-present phone-in-the-ear so they can ignore you by yakking with friends were absent. Thanks, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York!

3. Lines at the grocery store.

I hope you had this experience somewhere, too. I try to avoid last minute shopping at the malls (in tax-free Delaware, it tends to be a madhouse), but I can’t avoid the grocery store, and were the lines awful! The refreshing part, of course, was the people in them, who for just a few days put aside their hatred of even a moment’s inconvenience and smiled at crying babies, let people with few items step in front of them (I do this all year and it always gives others a thrill—try it when it’s not the holiday season), and hummed along with the Muzak to pass the time.

4. One from Dad and Mom: The tired co-shoppers’ lounge outside JCPenney in Saratoga Springs, NY.

With several cushy chairs and even an even larger children’s play area that can be seen from the seating, this delightful space allows hubbys to drop for a few minutes and refresh their spirits while their wives spend on and on, like the Energizer Shopper. (Not to say that only men can enjoy a rest—I’d stop there in a heartbeat. Shopping really gets to me.)

5. Build-a-Bear at 8:30 in the morning, three days before Christmas.

This is a place I normally avoid, due to the crowds and circus-like atmosphere. I’d made a promise, so off we went, as early as I could get to the mall. With only three other kids shopping, and fresh employees in the store, we had a personal assistant for the entire experience, who made it as theatrical as she could. I didn’t feel rushed, crushed, or pressured to purchase extras, and so purchased more than I normally would for the new “born” bear and parted gladly with twice the cost of the bear. Just as they planned…

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson