It’s all about love…


Stop and think for a minute about why you would recommend something to another person.

Maybe a film or show – because you loved it? Or a restaurant – because you loved it?

Or a company you love doing business with as they understand what you need and make everything easy?

The best way to generate customer referrals is to get your customers to love you. To do that, you need the right product at the right price with brilliant customer service. Sometimes you need a little extra though – the ability to surprise and delight your customer.

Businesses that focus on their customer do this often. It’s a marketing tool that deepens the customer relationship and generates sales and referrals.

We can’t give you a list of “Wow!” moments that would work for your business, but here are some examples to give you ideas about what you could do:

Morton’s Steakhouse

Author and business consultant Peter Shankman was getting ready to board a flight at the end of a long day. He knew he would be starving when he landed. Before he boarded, he tweeted Morton’s and asked if they could have a steak waiting when he landed. Imagine his surprise when he got off the plane to find a tuxedoed gentleman holding a bag that contained a 24 oz. Morton’s porterhouse, shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins and silverware. A great surprise – and Mortons had to track tweets, cook the food, and work out where he was landing. All in 2 hours!


Sainsbury’s received a letter from a three-year-old girl named Lily. “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread?” she asked, referring to one of their bakery items. “It should be giraffe bread.” Lily was just being observant – the pattern on the bread does resemble a giraffe more than a tiger. Sainsbury’s replied – the first baker who made it a long time ago thought it looked stripy like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.” They enclosed a gift card, and renamed the bread. Almost no cost to the business for lots of great publicity and a customer for life!

Zappos Shoe store

Medical treatment meant a lady needed new shoes as her feet were sensitive to pressure. Her daughter ordered six pairs of shoes from Zappos, hoping that at least one pair would be OK. Her mother called Zappos to find how to return some of the shoes, explaining the situation. Zappos sent her a large bouquet and a note hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. Zappos also gave her a VIP Membership which gives her free postage on all orders.

Southwest Airlines

A man had to go to his daughter’s home in Denver to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time. The boy was on life support after his mother’s boyfriend hit him and was brain dead. The life support was about to be ended and his organs used to save other lives. The man called Southwest to arrange the last-minute flight and explain the emergency situation. Unfortunately, he hit traffic delays and didn’t make it to the gate on time. He got to the gate 12 minutes after the plane was due to leave, only to find the pilot waiting for him. The pilot said, “They can’t go anywhere without me, and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”


A customer ordered a PlayStation from Amazon as a Christmas present for his son. When they delivered it there was no-one at home so they left it with a neighbour who signed for it. The neighbour didn’t take it in their house but left it on the doorstep and someone stole it.

When he got home and realised what had happened, he called Amazon to see if there was anything they could do. Much to the customer’s shock, they not only sent another, but didn’t even charge him for shipping. It even made it there on time for Christmas.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bali

A family took their own supply of eggs and milk on holiday as their son had some food allergies. Unfortunately the airline lost the food. No shops on Bali stocked the eggs or milk. Then the hotel chef remembered that a store in Singapore sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law, who lived there. She bought the eggs and milk then flew to Bali (about 2.5 hours) to deliver them.


Here is a lesson for VW about how to handle car recalls. When Lexus had to recall their ES 350 saloon in 2006, they asked owners to come  into their local dealership. Customers didn’t have to wait for their car fixing. Instead they got a brand new Lexus, no questions asked.


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