Where are the bunnies in your business?
Whatever you sell, people come to you for that, plus joy. Groceries, plus joy! New car, plus joy! Investment advice, plus joy! At a time when you have way too many competitors selling about the same thing as you, at about the same price, as goofy as it may sound, joy could be your sustainable competitive advantage. We’re all in the joy business. We’re all in the business of making emotional connections.
The Marriott Dessert Ridge in Scottsdale, Arizona is a beautiful resort hotel. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build it, furnish it and landscape it. It’s gorgeous! Then, they hired and trained an exceptional staff team.
But the thing most people remember about the Marriott Dessert Ridge is the bunnies. Every morning dozens of highly cute bunnies hop in from the adjacent dessert to dine on the lush green grass around the hotel. Nobody planned it and nobody expected it. It just happened.
Nobody’s taking pictures of the amazing hotel or the gorgeous furniture. They’re all outside, crawling around on the grass taking pictures of the bunnies. And the bunnies seem to enjoy the attention.
In the midst of that entire opulent splendor, it’s the bunnies that make an emotional connection. It’s the bunnies that deliver joy. People love the bunnies.
But that kind of love and emotional connection won’t just ‘show up’ unexpectedly in your business. You must proactively create it, live it and nurture it. And it starts with you. So, what do your customers ‘love’ about your business? Where is that all-important human connection? Where is the joy? Where are the bunnies in your business?
Three steps to delivering more joyful experiences:
First off, joy begins with you. You are the source of joy and energy in your business or your department. If the lights are out on the front porch of your life, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll brighten the way for anyone else. So, are you joyful? Do you make emotional connections? Are you the cheerleader and encourager that you need to be? Have you created a joyful and positive culture that rewards, coaches, encourages and rewards success? By the way, fun is something we have while working, not something we do instead of working. Some folks get that one mixed up.
Next, hire joyful people. Bless you if you think you can take unhappy, small-hearted people and somehow transform them into joyful human beings. Maybe you can but my guess is it’s a whole lot easier to start with people who are joyful by nature.
Joyful people and cultures create and deliver joyful products and services. Products and services that make powerful connections with customers. Numatic Ltd., a company based in the United Kingdom, makes fabulous cannister vacuum cleaners with a smiley face and a name. Henry vacuums sell all over the world. I see them being used in hotels everywhere I go. The hotel staff are happily vacuuming with a smiling machine. But Henry is no lightweight toy. For all of his joyful personality, he’s one serious vacuum cleaner. This thing could suck the lips off a chicken!
Another good example is Sandra Wilson, founder of children’s footwear manufacturer Robeez Footwear in British Columbia, who says, “If you’re not prepared to do the chicken dance, you can’t work here.” In other words, she doesn’t want staff who can’t or won’t be joyful. By creating a culture of joy, Sandra reduced staff turnover by 50% while growing her business by 1,200% over a three-year period.
Finally, create rituals of joy. Encourage joyfulness. Create celebrations, contests, rewards, events and activities throughout the year that energize, uplift and encourage. Take a calendar and mark on it each day of the year that you could do something joyful and then do it!
Create rituals of joy to surprise, delight and thank your customers. The ‘bunnies’ in your business could be oysters. While out for a stroll with grandson Gus last week, we passed a fish market, newly opened in our neighborhood. As we stood at the counter admiring their selection, the fishmonger asked if this was our first visit. Indeed, it was, and he explained they have a tradition of giving a free freshly shucked oyster to each new customer as a ‘welcome’. “Which of the seven varieties that we regularly offer would you like to try?” he enquired.
I selected a nice salty Blue Point and mentioned that grandson Gus, age 7, is also a first-time customer. Apparently, I was pushing my luck with that one. Anyway, the oyster was delicious, and we bought a large piece of citrus smoked salmon and a dozen oysters.
But the real point here is, they did something to welcome, surprise, delight and connect with us. And we’ll be back. What simple act of kindness would help you to be connected, remembered, loved and preferred? What would make you extraordinary?
In conclusion: So, what do you commit to do to make your business more joyful for your team and for your customers? What will you do to build emotional connections that engage and retain great staff and turn customers into fans?
You may think that there’s no room for ‘joy’ in your business, or that your products or services don’t lend themselves so easily to being ‘joyful’…but you’d be surprised what you can come up with. Sit down with some of the best minds and hearts in your business or department and ask them to share their thoughts on this important subject. Let them read this blog and give them a week or so to generate ideas. Then, get back together and see what they come up with. You’ll be amazed by the results.