I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but my wife Annie runs a business called Krondorf Trading Co where she sells gourmet condiments to customers throughout Australia.
Anyone throughout Australia can buy Annie's products online, but there is only one physical location where you can buy her produce and that's out at Rockford Wines in the Barossa Valley of South Australia.
Anyway, Annie was approached by staff at Rockford Wines some time back asking her if she would set up a stall at the winery to sell her products during the Barossa Vintage Festival.
I had better clarify a few things here - Annie bought Krondorf Trading Co from her Mum a year or so ago and when her Mum was running the business she used to have a stall out at Rockfords each weekend.
Annie works four days a week and runs her produce business as a "side hustle", so when she took over Krondorf Trading Co she decided not to continue the stall - nowadays her produce is in at Rockford's Cellar Door Sales so that visitors who go to Rockfords to sample their wonderful range of wines can also buy Annie's produce while they are there.
The problem here is that visitors can no longer taste the produce and this is why she was approached by staff at Rockfords to set up a stall for the Barossa Vintage Festival - so that visitors to Rockford Wines over the festival period could also sample her produce while they were there.
Of course the answer was "Yes!!!" - staff Rockfords have always been wonderful ambassadors for Krondorf Trading Co, so how could we refuse?!!!
The festival was last weekend, so out we all went (it was a family affair with Annie, myself and our son Ben all "pitching in" to help) and we had a fantastic weekend out there, meeting people from all over Australia - and the world - and enjoying the feedback we received on how good the produce was after these visitors sampled Annie's wonderful products.
While we were out there a number of "regulars" to Rockford Wines commented on how good it was to have Krondorf Trading Co back and we explained that it was not going to be a regular thing, but we would definitely be out there to say hi again whenever Rockfords hosted other "special events".
The end result was that Krondorf Trading Co had a very good weekend sales wise and what was more interesting were the comments that came from Rockford management and staff later in the week.
A number of Rockford staff approached us and commented on the positive feedback that they had received from visitors about the fact that Krondorf Trading Co had held a stall over the festival and these same people were asking to be informed when we (Krondorf Trading Co that is) would be out there again because they would be making the trip back to sample Rockford's wine and Krondorf Trading Co's produce.
Why am I telling you this story?
We - as small business owners - all do our best to provide our customers with a high level of service, but how often do we do things that actually "surprise" our customers and make them feel "special"?
What I mean by this is that "quality service" does not surprise our customers because this is what they expect (and rightly so) from every business transaction that they do with you, but if you can provide these same customers with something that surprises them - and through this surprise they feel special - then not only do you have a loyal customer, but you also have a raving brand ambassador for your business.
What kind of surprises can you give your customers that will make them feel special?