2 Ways To Deliver A Better Customer Experience

paperboyJenny gave a terrific example yesterday of a Guitar Center employee who took ownership of her guitar buying process and threw in a patch cable at no extra charge.  What a fantastic experience for her!

I recently witnessed complete lack of ownership from an employee that I want to share.  At the early hour I typically go running, the only other people out are the newspaper delivery folks.  If you’ve ever seen the movie “Funny Farm” with Chevy Chase, think of the mailman.  They drive like crazy, hurling papers from their car window, trying to get through their route as quickly as possible.

The other day as I was running in the rain no less when I watched the paper guy throw a newspaper out of his car window to a driveway.  As he did so, the paper came out of the plastic bag and more or less exploded in the driveway.  I then watched him get out of his vehicle, throw another newspaper closer to the house and then get back in his car and drive off–leaving the mess!

What would you as a customer think in this case?  Would you be grateful for the dry newspaper in your driveway that meets your expectations or would you likely fixate on the soggy, exploded newspaper that you had to clean up?  If the paper guy was aiming for a “lagniappe” (a little something extra) level of service, he just slightly missed the point.

This story really raises two critical lessons for me:

1. Owners Clean Up Their Messes- Whether you are an owner or work for an owner, it is critical that everyone thinks like an owner.  This is an essential ingredient to AWESOME customer service.  If you make a mess or become aware of someone else’s mess, take ownership and clean it up!  The customer doesn’t really care who made the mess but they certainly care if no one takes ownership and that directly affects them.

2. Dare To Be Different- In a previous post I shared an example from Chip Bell about the Hotel Monaco who gave him a pet goldfish for his room.  This slight difference in the customer experience served to make a big difference in the mind of the customer and created customer loyalty.

What if the folks at the San Diego Union Tribune dared to make their experience stand out from the rest?  Rather than exploding newspapers in their customers’ driveways, what if they trained their delivery folks to place them on the front doorstep of the customer.  What would happen if they placed a fresh flower, a piece of candy, or a thank you note on top?

As Shep Hyken says in “The Cult of the Customer,” regardless of whether your company is actually building an exceptional customer experience, you as individuals have a choice to be a “force within” to create great experiences and deliver AWESOME service.  And YES, if you work an early morning newspaper delivery route, this even applies to you!


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  • 30 years as a “solopreneur” …. if I don’t clean up a mess, no one will. When talking to clients in my Nice Guys biz, I am always stressing the importance of ownership regardless of your company being 1 or 1,000 employees. If for no other reason, it’s the right thing to do. From a customer’s perspective, they will love that the buck stops with you. And from a selfish perspective, you will be noticed as the mover and shaker at your company.

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