Home » Articles » How frugal innovation can make your customers smile!
Michelle Collins Happiness guru

How frugal innovation can make your customers smile!

I’m a woman on a mission – to prove that it doesn’t cost much to make a lasting emotional connection with your customers. In life, it really is the small things that make a difference – the little touches that make you feel wanted, appreciated and loved.

I work with my clients in the hospitality sector, where you’d think people would understand this implicitly. And while there are some wonderful examples, all too often I’ve met hoteliers who have obsessed over a vase costing thousands and yet overlooked many of the tiny touches that would mean more to guests and cost a tiny fraction of the price.

How sad because that vase will no doubt break or be replaced as the interior design gets refreshed. But a memory doesn’t break or change with new trends; it’s there for life. And such emotive memories create loyalty because we’re hardwired to repeat what makes us happy and delighted again, and again, and again.

So I started thinking about the little touches that would make a difference in hotels and became inspired by Jugaad – a hindu term for “clever solution in the face of adversity” or frugal innovation. A perfect approach for our tough economic climate.

This concept was introduced to me by an incredible lady called Marion Janner who set up Star Wards. Marion has made a huge difference to inpatient care through these small thoughtful and frugal touches. She lives and breathes the Jugaad attitude; with determination, ingenuity and passion, you can do almost anything with almost nothing.

So, I’m gathering as many great examples of these small touches and need your help!

Please send me your examples of small touches that made you smile. It doesn’t have to be a hotel either; it could be a restaurant, spa, café or hairdresser. I’m looking for any example of exceptional customer service that left you with a smile and happy memory. If you have pictures, even better! And, I’m open to ideas too because some of the best touches haven’t been invented yet. . .

Once I’ve gathered all your memories and ideas, I’ll share some of the best in another Women Unlimited article so that you can look at how you might use them within your own business and even homes.

To get you going, here are a few of my favourite examples so far shared by my happy community:

“One of my favorite hotels (The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas) has a cat that just lounges on the registration desk like it’s part of the staff 🙂 It’ s lovely…and haunted, too”

“I always remember the Malmaison writing me a hand written ‘welcome’ note in my room. But the best was the QT here in Sydney, I got a ‘hangover kit’ (water, berocca, sweets and headache tablets)”

“The little map of the corridor and the fire exits that you find in every hotel room – except at the Hotel Daniel in Vienna, where they framed it like a painting, with the caption “The Great Escape; Artist unknown””

“Homemade cake with tea-tray on arrival at Little Willows self catering cottage just outside Norwich.”

“In Swaziland we stay at a hotel where they appreciate that you have kids, they always lay a place for our little one at the dinner table (complete with silver spoon) and make sure we have a room where the monitor will stretch to the bar. That way we can have a drink while he sleeps!”

You can post your examples below, email me directly, post on Facebook or tweet away. Either way, thank you for sharing the small things that made you smile and for making me smile in return.

Share this article if you found it useful! And leave a comment in the box below. We hope to connect with you soon.

About Michelle Hawkins

Michelle is the Head of Happiness at The Flying Dodo. She designs spaces and experiences that promote greater Wellbeing and happiness in healthcare & hospitality using her knowledge of positive psychology, service design and behaviour change. Designing for happiness should be at the heart of every organisation. When people (staff and service users) feel happy, they become more resilient, motivated and engaged. To find out more about Michelle's story click on the icons below."

Check Also

DeathtoStock_Wired5

Is conflict is an inevitable consequence of business

With so many factors and variables in the mix, from internal and 3rd party dependencies, …

3 comments

  1. Stella Emeka-Okoli

    It’s been seven years, but I can’t forget the Virgin Atlantic :Lagos London route with my 6 months old baby . The cabin crew kept my baby and two older kids company and happy for 5 hours . It’s always been VA and VA all the time. They have a smile and a poise about customer service that is great. I will still use them this year.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Stella – I think every mother reading this will now be looking at Virgin Atlantic for their next long haul flight! It also reminds me of the importance of a smile and how Cathay Pacific Staff threatened to go on a smile strike over salary disputes – a highly effective strategy.

  3. I travel a lot and its I think its amazing how little things can improve hotel image. And its hard to understand how owners often overlook them. For example, a complimentary bottle of mineral water in the room shows attention to customers and yet costs only a few dimes. Yes, they can add up in big hotels, but then again, if you raise the room price by a quarter nobody will notice or complain. Another note from a recent trip – change or clean the shower curtains, sticky white-turned-brown curtain ruins everything else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *