When I was a teenager and got my first paycheck, my mom sat me down and talked to me about how to tip. She wanted to make sure I entered the world of commerce politely and with a sense of gratitude. She told me that I should tip anyone who did something personal for me. “Juju, if someone washes your car, fixes your hair, serves you food, parks your car or shines your shoes, it’s a real treat. You could have done these things for yourself. You should make sure you tip these people well.”
There were two things about this life lesson from Nancy that have always stayed with me. The first is: it’s personal. The second is: personal service is a treat. Treat is an old-fashioned word, but I still use it often. I love a treat, sweet or savory.
If you’re building a brand in an industry where your team members earn tips, are they providing treats? Because if they’re not, you’re missing out on a truly powerful brand opportunity.
Getting a haircut is more of a treat if it comes with an expert head massage, even if it only lasts three minutes. Having dinner served to you is more of a treat if the server genuinely shares her opinions about her favorite menu choices. Having your car valet parked is more of a treat if the attendant sincerely wishes you a great time at the show, and then later asks what you thought of it. Treats are personal. So are tips.
The trick to great treats is not in hiring people who know how to provide them. It’s in teaching people how to provide them. I recently taught my German mother-in-law the phrase, “It was my pleasure.” She uses it often and genuinely. It melts people. This is the kind of treat that can be taught. If I thanked the 20-year-old barista at Starbucks who made my latte, and she told me, in earnest, that it was her divine pleasure, it would likely make my morning.
Every brand has touch points: moments where what you sell or stand for touches your customers. Find a way to turn these touch points into treats. And then teach your team – demonstrate on a daily basis – how to deliver them. They’ll be delighted with their tips. Your customers will be delighted with your brand. You’ll be delighted with the loyalty you create.