Intro by Skip Cohen

Just for the fun of it, I went exploring through Shep Hyken’s archives, and it’s a goldmine of great concepts. Shep is all about Customer Service and the fun of his posts is that there is no spoilage on his ideas.  Unlike a carton of milk with an expiration date – Shep’s never go out of style. I found this post back in 2012 and it’s perfect for planting the seeds of ideas to be unique.

Years ago I attended a class by Beverly and Tim Walden at Marathon’s summer MAP conference. They were remarkable, making it a key point to get everyone thinking about the fun of a portrait session. The concept is based on more than people just loving their photographs – it’s about the experience of working with you!

As you read Shep’s post below, think about things you can do to make your interaction with your clients unique. Your sense of great service enhances your skillset as an artist. Even more important – it’s what separates you from your competitors!


In the past, I’ve written about hotels and specifically about amenity wars. This is where one hotel comes out with a better bed – such as Westin’s Heavenly Bed. It gives them a competitive edge for a while, but eventually, other hotels catch on and compete head-to-head. Eventually, these amenities don’t make the difference anymore. At a certain point, no matter how big the rooms are, or how plush the bed is, or how nice the chocolates are on the pillows, it comes down to the people making the difference. The staff can make or break it for the hotel.

All businesses have similar issues. Many compete head to head, trying to outdo one another. But at the end of the day, people do business with people, and employees can create success or, unfortunately, failure.

So, let’s say we have the amenities for our customers, whatever they might be for whatever business you are in. And let’s say you have great people doing great things for your customers and clients. What else can we do? Well, let’s go back to the hotel industry because, once again, they are a perfect example of what needs to be done. It is simple. Create an experience, but one that is different.

The Hard Rock Hotel, an upscale hotel chain, is a great example. Beyond great service and a visual theme throughout their hotels, they pipe in rock and roll music. This is really an oversimplification of their concept. They go beyond the unique atmosphere and ultimately create a rock and roll experience.

In New York City, there is a unique hotel called The Library Hotel. The floors and rooms tie into the Dewy Decimal System, and depending on what floor or room you are in, you will have a different experience.

The Hotel Fox in Denmark creates a unique experience for its guests. Every one of their rooms has been designed by a different artist. When a guest checks in, they are given a virtual tour on a computer of the different rooms that are available. Then the guest chooses the room that is most appealing.

You don’t have to own a hotel to do this. A friend of mine is an industrial sales rep and performs magic tricks for his customers. Whenever he sees his customers, he has a new trick, and they love him. A pediatrician blows up balloon animals for his patients, which makes going to the doctor, not such a scary thing. A dentist puts high-end music headphones on his patients to help them relax. A hardware store that is open early in the morning for their contractors offers a continental breakfast and coffee. A grocery store chain has miniature carts so kids can push a little cart around as they follow their parents up and down the aisles of the store.

Having high-quality products or services is important. And when you combine that with delivering outstanding service, you have a winning combination. Then, take it to the next level by creating an experience. But you can even go a step further, and that is to make the experience unique. Be different!

Copyright © MMXII, Shep Hyken – Used with Permission