Great news

Hi Joe,

Are you saying that even car maniacs can be delighted by a dealer? But that’s great news! I admit I was somewhat shocked to hear you accept Ruben’s offer. (For the readers at home: someone in our team has car-wash-rituals. Ritual is to plonge the sponge in a first bucket with warm water and car shampoo, then rinse the sponge after every stroke (every stroke) in a second bucket with warm water. Back into the first bucket, washing movement. A 3rd bucket is for cleaning the wheels, outside and inside (it’s normal if this is the first time ever you spent a thought to the inside of your wheels as items that can be washed)). 

Happy you were delighted and now can find your way again, Joe. 

dordrecht compriméIn trainings I cite this same dealer for the breakfast they serve for clients bringing in their car for maintenance.  Instead of a rubber smell (I hate that!), there’s a scent of hot croissants. The challenge is: what to do after 1,5 years when clients expect the fresh juice and warm croissants? How to suprise them again? It’s not easy, Customer Delight. That’s good news too, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it :-). 

Cheers Joe,


Flying in a minivan

Hi Joe,

madrid airprot9 years ago I also flew from Gran Canaria to Paris with a stop -over at Madrid. Our flight was delayed and we were killing time by walking around. From this moment in time, the experience takes an opposite direction from yours. Suddenly the delay was over and the final call was announced. We ran over to the gate where the shuttle bus had already left. However, they arranged for a minivan with a dedicated grim-looking driver to take us to the plane. I got in with my 3 months old baby girl. Before I completely closed the door, the driver sped away with smoking tires and screaming motor. I somehow figured it might be intelligent to put the saffety belt but held my baby in one hand and the other gripped the chair in front of me to prevent from rolling over. We took a 90° turn with 65 km an hour, cut in front of moving aircrafts and raced over the  tarmac. My baby cried with laughter over so much fun while I was completely focussed on surviving. Ieeeepppppp , what a relieve we crashed to a stop at the stairs to the plane. 

The intention of the service (taking us in time to the aircraft) was perfect. The way in which it was performed a bit over the top, in my view. 



My new friends

Hejo Johannes,

I wish you a delightful 2014!!

As it was your birthday recently, my question is: Did you also get the card of Shangri-La? When dealing with hospitality business you won’t hear about “customers” or” clients”. They have “guests” they welcome in their premises. This summer, however, I stayed in Coconut Beach Resort in Vietnam. In the room I found a welcome letter with this text:

coco beach cocoDear Client, Dear Friend, 

Welcome to Coco Beach Resort!

We wish you a pleasant stay in our little corner of paradise and we are at your disposal for any inquiries or requests you may have during your stay.

 This welcome pack includes the following items:

• A Coco Beach postcard
One voucher for a free drink
• And a little bag for your visit to the beach, so that your room key or small valuable items won’t get lost in the sand.

Enjoy your stay with us! 

Kind regards,

Daniel, Jutta and the Coco Beach Crew


When crossing one of the managers in the garden, he wished me a good morning, and also informed if everything was to my liking, if he could do anything for me. When chatting a bit, he explained that the indication of guests as “friends” guides the behaviour of the crew (read: staff).  

I do have to admit that these friends of mine forgot my birthday, but hey, they gave me a present during summer.


What parkings can tell you more….

parking pyramidesThis is a sports club around here. It is big, it is beautiful, it is very expensive and posh. Clientele and management are accordingly. Clearly: a relevant question has been asked: “Who is important around here?”, The answer is obvious: the general manager is!! Important people have the right to have priviliges and park at a convenient spot.

Johannes, we have all this talk about customers and service, but let’s be honest; if he wouldn’t manage the whole thing, the sports club would soon be a mess. Furthermore you agree with me: members come there for sports; to move, to excercise, to work out, after all. So if walking from their car park to the door is already too much of an effort, why come here??? 

It is really very useful for the GM to park right in front, how else can he inform all members that he is driving a fancy black BMW 5 series break with full options?

Members can thus come to the intelligent conclusion themselves: “This person is successful and consequently : important”. Recognition is very important for motivation, this is commonly known. This way the GM will work even better, for the club and for … himself??? 



Cheers Johannes,





More about parking lots

Hi Johannes,

“Safe and clean parking lot” states a welcoming sign at the parking of HaJé restaurant along the highway. 20 meters furtheron they confirm their promise: 

 Haje parking

As I completely had the right profile, I parked my car here, right in fornt of the entrance. When entering the building it said:

 haje entrance





And indeed, many reasons to smile. Cosy decoration/flowershop at the entrance, friendly welcome, nice wintergarden to work, wood fire, good food (both classic and healthy) and, hey, they even sell Love Choc!!! What possibly more can someone want??? 

They have all things right due to systematic satisfaction cards at every table. 

Next time more on parkings. 












And us…

Hé Johannes,

The positive thing is that the first girl thought of clients as people. There are others that see them as wallets with legs! That makes me think of the book of Michelli on Zappos. He explains that there is also delight for suppliers and partners (and thus trainers). The title of this paragraph is: “What? Partners are people too?“. Heartwarming!!!

I did see another place where they consider trainers, at a hotel:

parking trainer 1





Isn’t that thoughtful of them?


Cheers M

Being part of the family

saladeHi Johannes,

The question here is: can you implement a customer-centric culture when your company is listed at the stock exchange???? Will you be able to convince your shareholders? That means chosing a long term approach over a short time strategy??? I feel it is easier for family businesses (even Toyota is!!). 

Talking about family businesses….. In June I had spent two nights in Hotel 2000 and I liked the place. So last week I went again. Upon arrival I got an upgrade to a room with a terrace as the owner remembered I liked sitting outside. He added: “If you want a salad before leaving to work, I can organize one for you.” And so when I ordered a salmon salad at 17h30 it was served within a minute. Very nice, fresh and crispy. (I won’t specify here he welcomed me with “Hello young lady“, you wouldn’t understand :-)). 

Next time in Valkenburg…


My question for the National Dutch Railways…

… is: how exactly do they define the promising concept……… “SERVICE“? 

When arriving today with the international train at Rotterdam station, I wanted to buy a ticket for Utrecht. The ticket vending machines in the hall happened to neither accept a credit card, nor cash. I looked around for a solution and saw the “Service Center”. Happily I walked over and it turned out that:


  • 28 people were in line before me
  • There was nowhere to sit down
  • It took the 3 ladies at the ticket windows 17,5              
         minutes to proceed the 28 clients
  • There was a sur-charge of 50 cents as I did not use
         the machines. 
  • The lady wished me a pleasant day.

What’s your bet?

Craftmanship and Delight

Hi Johannes,

Today I went to the hairdresser, down here at the shopping mall, part of a chain, nothing special, really. People are treated with indifference, pushed through a customer process. 

But…. surprise came, in the person of a tall beautiful black man. No name badge but let’s call him Frank. For sure, Frank was a hair artist.  He didn’t have any attention for me as a person, but was highly interested in this hairdo that urgently needed fixing. Some professional relevant questions ( What would I like, in front behind and on the sides, how often I wash and how I dried it), he walked me over to washing basins and left me alone.   
In the mean time Frank concentrated on aligning two wiped scissors and a comb in a sharp 90 degrees angle. When I was seated, he unlashed all his talents on my “coupe”. Methodically progressing, sometimes with glasses on, sometimes pushing them on top of his head, with varying swinging movements, he cut my hair. Try to think of Mr Bean cutting hair, without being ridiculous. 


I have to say that the whole scene gave me confidence in the outcome (read: was a bit delighted) . I was in  indifferent but capable hands. He then asked if I would like wax ( not gel of course). OK. If I would have any objections against coconut ( smell).  I had not. He than took it as a mission to educate me. 

I did not cut it too short. (This could be easily be subject to discussion) Now, you heat the wax in the palm of your hands like this. Once it is heated up you can apply. You have to imagine a virtual square over your head. Put the wax on the roots of your hair and then move everything in the virtual square. It is very important to know that most of the volume is on the right side of your head, so make this movement…. And then wave it to the front, for a feminine look. Do you have any questions?”

A the till it turned out the hand heated wax was charged 2 € extra. 

You have all you need concerning wax?


Loyalty card maybe?” 

May be not, yet.

Cheers M

Service in Morocco

Hi Joe,

Funny, somehow, that “lip service” has a negative connotation. Normally words with lips are positive, think of lip stick. 

Anyway, I was in Morocco last week and had several nice experiences. At a pharmacy I saw the following note, very welcoming. Funny that they see us as a guest!!

pharamacy fes

We had rented a house in the old medina and a young man takes care of the house and of course of the guests. He came around every morning and every afternoon to see if we would need something, if he could do something for us. When talking to him and a possibility to return with a bigger group of friends, he said: “Yes, you should do that, your brother (himself) will welcome you all here.” Interesting to hear how he positions himself. A brother takes very good care of his family. 


restaurant fesIn restaurant Le Patio Blue, in the medina I had used the toilet. I climbed the stairs up to the roof terrace where my family was seated at a table, while someone walked very very closely behind me. Once on the terrace he said, “Excuse me” and slipped in front of me, grabbed a napkin somewhere and held it out to me. He had noticed I had not dried my hands! 

Service all around in Fez in Morocco. 


Cheers, M

Chocolate for Everybody

Hi Joe,

Dark chocolate with whole almonds is a shortcut to delight!! (Am not saying I am delight). Scientific reserach hasproven that chemicals inside chocolate stimulate pleasure centers in the brain. (In the same article they call people like me chocodicts)  In the delicate matter of creating delight, we can thus safely advice our clients: distribute choclate. To every body. At every occasion. 

In fact, at Lexus Spain they offer a chocolate when presenting the bill.

So I order it around the place on the web. Our Japanese contact suggested La Red, so I tried. At the site, they promise to deliver within a week. It took a little bit more than a week and look at what I received with “The Chocolate Post”:

la red chcolate

Translation: “Excuse us for the delay. “

They offered me 5 bars on top of that. One of each taste for me to try. So I’m a fan :-). And you bet I already ordered the next lot. I’ll let you taste next time!


The postman always rings

la posteA month ago I ordered sugar-free chocolate on the web. Up to today I had not received anything, and I was about to call the supplier, when the telephone rang. “Hello, this is Philippe from the post office in Chambourcy. I am calling you as we have a package from overseas waiting for you since a long long time. I wanted to send it back, but thought I might just check with you first.” I thanked him and assured that I would come over straight away. He greeted me with : “Hello Mariéky, with the Belgian accent.” With enthusiasm he explained that he had figured that  the telephone number marked on the package, 123456789, was not correct so he had looked it up on the internet.

So much dedication!!

 Cheers, M

Everybody can do it.

train conductor

Here I was still sleeping

He Joe,

I had a simple one the Thalys to Rotterdam recently. I mean WOW experience, of course. 

As I wanted to print my railway ticket, I had to give the name of the passenger (that happened to be me, myself in person). The name and a complicated code show on the ticket when printed. When handing over the paper to the ticket collector,  he said: “Have a nice trip, mrs Marieke van der Laan.”


On the Japanese train

train 2Hi Joh, 

Yes it works if people at frontline have responsibility. I’ve got some examples of standards here. When travelling with the Japanese bullet train to Kyoto, I noticed some very nice service-mindedness. The lady that checked all tickets adressed every person again and again with a polite “please” and “thank you very much” (that happens to be the only Japanese words I speak. You hear them so often, they immediately integrated into my vocabulary). She held a small note book and checked which seats she had already controlled. When at a station new passengers boarded, she would make another round and only asked those for their tickets.  A lady selling drinks and snacks was equally elegant when it came to service. It was filmed by someone, check it out here. 

Train 1

All passengers would sit at the site of Mount Fuji (and it was a beautiful sight!). And finally everybody always sits in direction of drive. That requires that someone at the final station will turn every single bench in the other direction. 


I love spring

Hi Johannes,

springdance1Indeed, personal contact with a customer can create many opportunities to create a relationship and Delight on the way.

Lexus creates relationships without small mistakes…. We were at the Lexus International Gallery in Tokyo last Saturday. They serve visitors with a drink inspired by the season. It was festive, nice and surprising.

The name of this particular drink is “Spring Dance”, as the blossom leaves “dance” with the bubbles. A explanatory sign explains the drink, which adds to passion, another trick to create delight.





Friendliness when flying

Hi Johannes,

lipdub lyonIndeed very clever. European airports are also working on client services. München airport has the same screens. In Paris they are developing Airport Helpers, people that direct and reassure passengers in a friendly way. Clients want to be seen and get personal attention, instead of being passenger 314 that morning. In Lyon they had the same project and made a lipdub, very nice. Check it out on:

Have a nice weekend.


Brainracking service

He Johannes,

We agreed that on this blog we would only talk about positive experiences involving delight. We would only relate the worst service ever, as a joker. Now we are talking airlines again I will use mine: 

My sister in law was for holiday on Cuba, travelling with Air France. When arriving at Havana airport to check in for the flight back, she was informed that two hostesses were on strike and so 100 people had to stay behind. My sister in law and her family were amongst the “lucky ones”.

The next day they could embark. After a couple of hours dinner was served. When taking off the aluminium foil she discovered a chicken leg in a yellowish solid, drilling sauce covering pasta. It was all cold. When calling over the air hostes, her astonishing reply was: “Out of sympathy for our colleagues on strike, we do not heat any food during this flight.” Some travellors seem to have had slight difficulty understanding such fraternality…..  

Maybe the airhostess did understand the impact personnel has on brand image….

To finish with a positive note: this airline (dating from pre-mobile phone era) did understand. I just love it!!

(French-speaking pilot if you listen carefully!).

Cheers M

I am a delighted colleague

He Johannes,

Haha, I am impressed that you kept the box and the receipt for 2 years and still remembered where you had stored them!!! Indeed very bright communication of the Philips employee.

Last Friday I met with a colleague to work on a project. Upon arrival he offered me a bunch of flowers for 3 reasons: happy new year, to help fight Blue Monday (today) and because he appreciated the work I did for the project. I consider it normal to contribute my best to the project. However, I was really very pleased with this sign of appraciation.

For a project on Customer Delight it is important to also create delight internally, meaning help each other to give the best for the customer (or a project). 




Literally “Bonjour”

I’ll take you to Vodaphone, first stop (so you can buy a French sim card).

The other day I was at the local supermarket called Carrefour. At the fruit department I picked mandarins from a huge pile. An employee was peeling mandarins for the clients to taste and filling up the pile. Suddenly, completely out of the blue, he said: “Bonjour Madame” (“Hello Madam“)!!!

Now for our foreign watchers, this is France and here you do not say hello to people, especially not in Carrefour.  People will be frightened and think you want something from them. This gentleman did not want anything, smiled and even pressed the right button on the weighing scale for me. I smiled back, thanked him and said it was friendly of him. I had a nice experience, and so did he. Rather than being an unremarkable person,people noticed him and were friendly in return.



Home is where the heart is…

Hi Johannes,

Next time you come to Paris I will take you to the Nespresso store on the Champs Elysees. The store is a perfect experience store with coffee tasting workshops, touch screens, art and candles with scents of coffee blossem to smell.

In the back is a cafe where service used to be bad, but since some time it is great (who knows, maybe the staff was trained ???). I went with a group of After Sales Advisers of Lexus. As the only woman, I got the menu first and could place the order first. This is very basic politeness; … which you find only seldom in a café in France. The lady that served the drinks, was not the person who had taken the order. However, she knew who had ordered which kind of coffee. Great!  

At the Nespresso website it says: “Coffee is at the heart of all we do. Yet, consumer pleasure is why we do it.” I noticed that :-).