How to Surprise Your Customers by Thinking Ahead

How to Surprise Your Customers by Thinking Ahead

How one hotel group won more Michelin stars than any other, why thinking ahead is the best way to surprise your customers, and why the people with your customer are just as important as your customer.

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Full Episode Details

How to Surprise Your Customers by Thinking Ahead

Bite-Sized Delight From the Episode:

  • How a surprise made Joey’s stay at a hotel remarkable.
  • What Mandarin Oriental did to win more Michelin stars than any other hotel group in the world.
  • Businesses that win big by taking care of the “bystanders” who come along with their customers.

CX PRESS: Michelin Stars [01:03-8:28]

This week, we take a look at “How Mandarin Oriental Won 18 Michelin Stars” by Sarah Jappy for Christie’s Luxury Defined. Winning one Michelin star is a huge deal for any restaurant, but how do you win more stars than any other hotel group in the world? Obsessive attention to detail and the ability to turn mistakes into magical moments.

Tweetable Quotes

Get your product right first, then enhance it with service. #CX Click To Tweet

Each guest has different expectations, but our goal is to delight and wow them. #CX Click To Tweet


  • Get your product right first, and then you can enhance the experience with great service.
  • Build in service that anticipates the customer’s needs and then goes above and beyond with certain flourishes.
  • Don’t automatically reject a mistake, there might be an opportunity to turn it into something magical.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Fairmont Banff Springs [8:30-19:04]

When Joey went to Banff with his family for a conference, they stayed in a beautiful historic hotel called the Fairmont Banff Springs. Their ability to observe their customers, personalize the experience, and surprise them made it one of his favorite stays of the last year by far. As promised, here’s a picture of Joey’s kids sporting their amazing (and surprising) treasures.

Fairmont Banff Springs Surprise

Tweetable Quotes

The key to a customer’s heart is often through their kids. #CX Click To Tweet

The little things can be the things that matter most. #CX Click To Tweet

Always take the opportunity to observe your customers. #CX Click To Tweet

Look for opportunities to personalize interactions at every turn. #CX Click To Tweet


  • When you observe your customers, it gives you fantastic data points that let you customize the experience and make it even more remarkable.
  • Look for opportunities to personalize the interactions at every turn.
  • When you get the chance you can surprise a customer by thinking ahead.

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Innocent Bystanders [19:18-29:42]

While Joey was in Banff, they happened to visit Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont close to closing time. When the owner sees Joey’s kids and finds out they’re going to be staying in town for a few days, she produces two customized sketch pads for them to draw in while they’re there. She couldn’t have had any idea at the time, but Joey and his wife ended up purchasing some paintings on their last day at Banff, and some free publicity from Joey’s speech at his conference nearby. We look at this and other examples of how you can pay attention to the “innocent bystanders” who are with the paying customer.

Tweetable Quotes

The best marketing you can ever do is word of mouth marketing. #CX Click To Tweet

The most believable person to talk about your business is a customer. #CX Click To Tweet

Often you don’t know who the decision maker really is. #CX Click To Tweet


  • It’s not just about the customer, it’s about the people who are with the customer.
  • Make the people around the customer feel special too, and you’ll create tons of word of mouth, happier customers, and more new business in the future.

CHECK OUT THIS NUMBER: 88% [29:45-32:22]

88% of people feel better about a brand when the advertising is personalized to them. As Joey said in an early episode, one of the most pleasing sounds to anybody’s ear is their own name, so it’s no surprise that more personalization leads to a more favorable impression.

Tweetable Quotes

88% of people feel better about a brand when the advertising is personalized to them. #CX Click To Tweet


  • Personalization is the best way to create marketing that connects favorably with customers.

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