What if I told you that the ability to surprise and delight your customers is a great way to make and keep yourself relevant in all your business dealings today? Relevant not only in your business dealings, but with everyone around you, too? What would you say to that? Would you believe me?

It may seem like a simple idea, which I love, but the ability to surprise and delight can have great impact. It can have many layers and multiple purposes. It is an idea that can transform both your business and personal life, and is possibly one of the most underutilized tools available to you.

If you think about this idea from a business perspective, two businesses that come to mind immediately are Zappo’s and Tom’s shoes. Not that what they have accomplished is easy or simple, but they both continue to surprise and delight their customers. Both brands have brought a disruptive stance to online sales, but their biggest marketplace asset is the ability to keep bringing a sense of freshness and joy to the customer experience. Part of these retailers’ charm is that the ability to delight keeps customers coming back again and again for that special, new something that they’ll find.

Just think about incorporating all of that positive feeling into your work everyday. Yep, you can do it and should do it. Find new ways to surprise and delight your customers and all the people with whom you work. Surprise them with kindness, or with a gift, something they would never think of for themselves. Think about bringing something fun or delicious to your next staff meeting. Think about the joy you’ll bring and how that can lighten up the work atmosphere and bring everyone closer. Ok, I know you’re totally getting it!

Now think about this ideas from a personal view. Think about how you feel as the giver of such a surprise. How about the look on your wife’s face when you show up with flowers for no reason? Think about the happiness you bring to a friend when you pick that person up and take them somewhere they love but for some reason wouldn’t go by themselves. There are so many ways to surprise and delight the people in your life. You could bring the barista that makes your morning latte a gift–– maybe something the two of you talked about. Me, I love jokes and can’t wait to surprise and delight people I know with a fabulous joke. I wonder, why don’t we think about it the same way we think about being prepared or always being on time, and make it a disciplined part of our routine?

Now, I want you to turn this idea around and for you to think about yourself and how you feel when you are surprised in a delightful way. Think about how you feel when someone takes the time and energy to think about how to surprise you. How about the last time someone surprised you with a bonus? What about tickets to a ballgame that you would never attend if you weren’t given the tickets? Yep! You feel honored that they thought enough of you to do something to surprise you. But also, don’t forget to surprise yourself sometime with a day of vacation, a spa day or a day with someone you care about.

I really love it when something so simple to execute and so exciting comes along. For you, the person delivering and executing the surprise and delight, the dopamine rush that you get is intoxicating. It is an art that you should practice and one that I want to challenge you to start using everyday in everything you do.

How are you going to surprise and delight your customers today? Who in your personal life are you going to surprise and delight today? Incorporate this little common sense tool and watch how your relevance to your colleagues at work and your family at home becomes just absolutely surprising and delightful!



The thing I have always tried to do is surprise people: to present them with something they didn’t expect. ––Christopher Lee