Good Surprises Go a Long Way

Regular readers of this column know that I often find inspiration for
marketing “what to do’s” from the travel industry. Although many
people have justifiable complaints about the travel industry, it is still a
good resource for ideas.

I recently attended the Georgia Society of Orthotists and Prosthetists
meeting in Atlanta. I was headed home, so I checked my bag and headed for the
Delta Skyteam elite security line. It was a little confusing when I got to the
entrance of the line because although all the signage hanging from the ceiling
said Skyteam elite, the sign on the stanchion said TSA Preonly.

Leave your shoes on

What’s TSA Pre? According to the TSA website, TSA Preenhances
aviation security by placing more focus on prescreening individuals who
volunteer to participate in order to expedite the travel experience. According
to frequent flyers, TSA Premeans you do not take off your shoes, coat or belt
and you leave all your stuff in your bags including your liquids and your
computers. The program is on the news a lot now because it is expanding to
include more airports.

I had just said to Tom a couple of days before that I needed to find out
what to do to participate. Last year I flew 75,000 miles, so I would love,
love, love to be TSA Pre.


Anyway, I was confused by the signage so I handed my
boarding pass to the TSA woman and asked her if this line was for TSA Preonly.
She looked at my pass and said, “You’re Platinum Medallion,
you’re automatically TSA Pre.”

A little big deal

Talk about excited! I haven’t stopped talking about it. It was the
best day ever. A complete and total, unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Now she
was just doing her job, literally just stating a fact. She wasn’t looking
for hugs, even though she got one; she wasn’t trying to make my day or
make me feel special but that was definitely the result.

Here’s the best part. You can do that every single day. You can
take a simple fact and make your customer, client, patient, referral source or
employee’s day. The key is the surprise. Who goes around all day expecting
good surprises?

Just the facts. Get creative. Is it the anniversary of their first visit
to your office? Is it the 100th or 1000th or 10,000th order they have placed
with your company? Is it their birthday (birthday week)? I know everyone does
the Facebook birthday thing now but if a patient is coming into your office on
their actual birthday, give them a birthday card or a cupcake. They’ll be
surprised in a good way! You may not get a TSA Presize hug but then again, you
just might.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing
Solutions. She can be reached at

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