Every January – when there isn’t a pandemic going on – I run a two-day event in San Diego called the ‘Strategic Focus Program.’
This is a very special event in which business owners and growth minded leaders, have the opportunity to invest in their future vision by planning for the coming year – both personally and professionally. It’s a chance to get away from the office and benefit from a new environment.
Without fail, that environment is the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego’s bustling North Park neighbourhood.
The Lafayette is a tiny boutique hotel that has been around for generations. It’s got a fantastic retro vibe and some of the most stellar customer service I have ever experienced.
From the moment you check into the Lafayette, you are treated like an old friend. The last time I was there, in January 2020, I was greeted at reception after a five-hour flight with a warm “it’s great to have you back.”
This small gesture alone went a long way, but as is always my experience with the Lafayette, it didn’t end there. Later on, when I needed some photocopies made for the event, I called down to the front desk to inquire about local printing shops. Without skipping a beat, the woman on the other end of line said she would be happy to complete them right then and there. “Are you sure?” I responded. I needed about fifty colour copies made. It seemed like a lot to ask. “We would be happy to do those for you” was her reply. Twenty minutes later, a knock on my hotel room door yielded fifty beautiful, laser-printed photocopies – on the house.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when, a few days after my return to Toronto, I received a beautiful hand-written card from the Lafayette in the mail. It said: “Thank you for staying with us and bringing your smiles. We love having you here every year.”
The Strategic Focus Program is not, by any means, a massive event. At most, we’re a group of 12 people. That is to say, we’re not some corporate event bringing in hundreds of customers. And yet, the Lafayette makes us feel special, year after year; a prime example of Maya Angelou’s words come to life:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It goes without saying that I do not consider any other hotel every time I’m in San Diego. Simply put, the Lafayette creates such a unique and unforgettable experience for me and my clients that I don’t need to look elsewhere.
So, my question to business owners is: how can you create a unique, genuine experience that your clients can’t help but share? How can you serve your clients beyond the product that you’re offering? How can you show them that you actually care?
Which brings me to Jay Culbert of Kaloutas, a commercial painting, industrial flooring and fireproofing company in Peabody, Massachusetts. Jay is a man who takes these questions to heart. He’s also one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
Every two months, Jay hosts a virtual event called ‘Facility Rock Stars with Jay.’ He brings together his clients – facility managers from various industries – and opens up the floor for them to discuss the biggest problems they’re facing. It’s an opportunity for them to connect, problem solve, and build relationships.
There is no infomercial at the end of the event, no flashy plug for Jay’s business. After one of his first events, an attendee reached out to Jay and said: “I was waiting for the Kaloutas commercial and it never came.” Another said: “That was fantastic, and so needed in our industry. We often feel alone. Do you mind if I invite more people next time?”
Jay is a perfect example of how to show your clients that you care. And guess what happens when you show your clients you care? They can’t help but talk about you, just like I can’t help but talk about the Lafayette. We are wired to want to share great experiences, our focus should be on creating more of them for our clients.
So, how are you creating a great experience for your clients?