I had worked a full day in Washington, D.C. and then flew to Detroit for a presentation the following morning. I arrived late at the airport in Detroit and as I exited the terminal with my bags at around midnight, was confronted by a number of aggressive limo drivers.
I passed by several drivers and cars that issued subtle (or not so subtle) indicators that I may regret accepting their service. A few yards further, I was pleasantly surprised by an immaculately dressed limousine driver whose Lincoln Town Car was spotless. I confirmed the fare to the Renaissance Center downtown, handed him my bags, and entered the back seat through a door he held open.
When he returned to the driver’s seat and began to pull away from the curb, he asked me if I’d care for a chilled bottle of water. Pleasantly surprised, I accepted. He then asked me what type of music I was interested in. I told him that my taste in music was all over the board but that, at this late hour and with a 30 minute ride ahead of us, I’d appreciate something mellow.
He said, “Here, let me surprise you.” And I nodded off to Tony Bennett singing Because of You…
When we arrived at the hotel, the hand-off to the hotel’s staff was just as seamless and professional as my reception had been at the airport.
Naturally, I rewarded his attention to detail, professionalism, and memorable customer service. Like most customers who are pleasantly surprised by the service they receive, I tipped more than I would have ordinarily and I requested a card in order to schedule a return trip to the airport with him the following day.
How can you distinguish your business from the competition? What can you do to make an impression by pleasantly surprising your customers?