The benefit of the unexpected

I’ll admit, I get tired of hearing the same old business jargon. Phrases like, ‘It is what it is’, ‘Boil the ocean’, ‘Thinking out loud’, and Marty Clarke’s favorite, ‘I’m just saying’ are used far more often than should be allowed. I read recently that the phrase ‘exceed expectations’ is another one to avoid, probably because the vast majority of resumes out there use this as an example to highlight supposedly superior work.

At Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, we look at it from a slightly different perspective. I prefer to think that we simply enjoy doing things for customers that are not expected. Sometimes they know about it, and sometimes, frankly, they never know about the little things we do.

We correct spelling errors on messages. We look up incorrect addresses. We adjust shipping dates to optimize delivery. And much, much more. I do believe that while these things cannot always be measured, the benefit of doing something that helps someone and is not expected, is worth far more than the cost.

Mardi Gras cookies
This package was not on 'the menu' - but we created something special for this order just because.

One of our long time customers placed an order with use recently. She was sending a thank you gift to someone for their hospitality during Mardi Gras. She simply asked us to use a yellow, or purple – if we had it, ribbon for the box.

We don’t have Mardi Gras packaging on our website (maybe we should….) but I know that the colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and yellow. Turns out we did have purple ribbon and some crinkle filler in these colors, so we put together a package that fit right in with the celebration.

I shared a photo of the package with our customer and she was both surprised and delighted. You might be tempted to say this was done to get her to order from us again, but you’d simply be wrong. Our intent was to send her client a gift that would stand out as being more than a box of cookies and would carry with it recognition and respect for an important part of the culture of New Orleans.

We did this because we know that when they open the box, they’ll smile and when they bite into our cookies, they’ll probably close their eyes and say, ‘mmmmmmm’. We did it because we know and respect our customer, and take pleasure and pride in being of service in unexpected ways.

If you’ve ever asked my opinion on sending gifts from Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, especially as a part of your business, I’ve probably shared a similar philosophy about the value of doing something nice for someone when they least expect it. Of course you hope that it will leave a lasting impression and that they will return. But more importantly, it makes a statement about your beliefs and how you choose to treat others. When you are known as someone who does something nice for others when they least expect it, that is a powerful way to brand your life, your business and leave a legacy that lasts far longer that a box of our cookies or brownies.

Our cookies, and the little things we sometimes do to make them special, really do make people happy.

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