Crippled CEO Blog #123:
I broke up with my girlfriend of almost 3 years in January of 2020.
About a month later, I decided I was ready to start trying to find somebody again.
For the first time ever, I downloaded the various apps, I made the profiles, and I dove headfirst into online dating.
And then a little thing called COVID hit.
This threw a big wrench into the whole going to crowded places with strangers thing.
I paused the entire campaign for a while, but eventually, I met somebody through one of the apps that I really wanted to meet.
I knew I wasn’t going to go to a restaurant. This was early days in the pandemic, when the virus was still at the peak of its powers, and as a cripple with diminished lung capacity, catching it likely would have resulted in increased revenue for my local funeral home. At the very least, I would have had a less than pleasant sabbatical in a hospital bed. Either way, it would have rained on all of my parades.
I decided that I would create an outdoor restaurant in my home. I set up a gazebo in my backyard, romantically lit with strings of golden lights, with a table at its center, fans in the corners, and a portable air-conditioning unit controlling the climate. I hired a waiter to not only serve us the food, but also to take our order. You see, I had a couple appetizers, three entrees, and a dessert delivered from one of my favorite restaurants. I liked all three entree choices, so whichever one she picked, I just got one of the others, and the third became leftovers. She ordered off of menus that I printed at the office and put in plastic sleeves.
I took the food descriptions off of the restaurant’s website and spiced them up a bit, putting it all into a word document. Her name was Mayra (to protect the guilty, that is her actual name), so at the top of the menu, in big, bold letters, it read: Mayra’s Bistro.
Of all of the things that went into this — the rented air-conditioning, the gazebo, the lights, the waiter, the food, and so on — she was most taken aback by the menu. It was by far the least expensive, easiest component of the entire experience, but that’s what stood out the most to her because it was personalized. It had her name on it. It was thoughtful and unique to her.
Now, if what you’re seeking here is a great way to impress the person who sizzles your fajita — congratulations. My work here is done. Mission accomplished. You can thank me by naming your child Harrison.
However, we can take this a step further. How can we delight our customers in the same way? Because, like I said, the personalization was the easiest and least expensive part, so why not do that?
If you give a quote to a customer, either digitally or on paper, it probably has a form field that says “Name:” and you write or type their name in the box.
If you’re typing the name anyways, why not get rid of the name field entirely and title the quote “Fred Johnson’s Personalized Proposal”? It’s a small thing, but you are already standing out from everybody else. If the proposal is for a business, are you putting THEIR logo on the cover page?
If your business has a physical location, and you know that you have an important client or potential client coming that day, how hard would it be to print out and tape their name onto the parking spot right up front? When they’re on the way, let them know to be on the lookout for it. How special would you feel if that happened to you?
If you’re going to visit an important customer, could you print out a business card with THEIR name on it? Maybe the top reads: “Fred’s Real Estate Agent” or “How Fred Can Reach Me” or “Don’t forget me, Fred!”
Chewy famously sends out personalized paintings of random customers’ pets. They also include a handwritten note with every order.
This year for Christmas, we sent out Yeti cups to all of our top dealers. On one side of the cup was the Life Saver logo. On the other side, it had their name.
We donate pool safety fences to families who have had a fatal or nonfatal drowning. In most cases, the installation is handled by the local Life Saver, but sometimes there isn’t a Life Saver nearby, so we let them order whatever they need from PoolFenceDIY.com and we send them a coupon code that gives them a 100% discount. We always make the coupon code the name of their child.
Adding in a touch of personalization costs very little and only takes a bit more effort, but can have a very big impact. Just ask Mayra. Her and I got engaged on — just kidding. She ended up ghosting me. But she really did love the menus. Big hit. And your customers will love it, as well.
(Do you know who is tired of hearing my name used in a personalized way? Your mom’s neighbors. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.)