What’s the drill – February 20 – How to delight your customer

What’s the drill for President’s Day is inspired by a product made of steel and concrete, and a lesson in how to surprise and delight your customer.

The Bay Bridge is one of the most well-known bridges in the United States – it connects San Francisco with Oakland in Northern California, and an average of 270,000 cars pass through it every day,  making it the bridge with the highest volume of commuter traffic in the region.  The bridge was set to be closed for repairs the entire Presidents Day weekend – and was to be closed until Tuesday at 5am. Traffic in and around the neighboring area was by no means pretty, and folks were surely inconvenienced by a disruption to their routine — after all, swimming the Bay is not a popular option.

Surprisingly, it was announced the Bridge would re-open a full day-and-a-half ahead of schedule, easing the commute home from the long weekend, and lessening the strain on weary travelers.

In short, this project accomplished something many do not – it under-promised and over-delivered.

Under promise and over-deliver – a tool which can be used to delight customers, bosses, co-workers and clients.

Set realistic expectations, increase your effort and efficiency of your work to raise your reputation, leave a positive impression, and surprise and delight your customer.

Although choosing a bridge is quite different from the more difficult and non-routine choices we make every day in selecting our products and services, this unexpected announcement increased gratitude and hopefully dissipated some of the frustration.

When you are updating a product, keeping a customer on-hold, or creating employee engagement programs – how can focusing on exceeding expectations alter mindsets, and hopefully consumer habits? I’d argue we focus too much on meeting expectations and not enough on exceeding them.


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