By Win Salyards, Marketing Coordinator for Heinz Marketing

Generosity is one of our key values at Heinz Marketing.  We work to live that throughout our customer experience and engagements. We believe our clients are our partners and should be treated as such, and part of that is celebrating significant life events with them. I was recently asked to review our client gift process so we could better respond and scale.  Originally, my thought was to build a more procedural and systematic process—if, then—but as I dug into it I realized I was approaching it the wrong way, and I was going about it in a way I believe would have been a detriment to our internal culture.  I scrapped what I had put together and approached the task from the standpoint of “surprise and delight.”

Surprise and Delight

What does that mean?  That phrase has been floating around for almost a decade now, but I have not heard a good definition for it yet.  There is the literal definition of surprise and delight, but I believe there is a larger meaning and practice to it, and this is what I was hoping to bring to the Heinz Marketing gift process—nurturing a culture of surprise and delight.  For me surprise and delight are the little moments of thoughtfulness and generosity we each bring to client interactions, making sure to keep our ear out and listen to and get to know our client partners so they come away feeling fulfilled and  they’re getting what they need from us. When you send a client, current or past, a gift in celebration of a life event it shows you are listening to them and you appreciate them.  That surprise of getting an unexpected package in the mail, and the delight at seeing it is a gift in celebration of new child, or anniversary are key parts of these small client interactions that leave lasting impressions on people that they carry with them and may come back to if they act as a referral.

Lasting Impressions, Lasting Relationships

When you lead into working with a client with the intent of generosity and, surprise and delight, you give you and your team a foundation to build positive customer experiences that lead to lasting client relationships long after your engagement has ended.  These are often at the core of referrals and recommendations.  While excellent work, and results are key, people often forget specifics. What they do remember are those standout moments and interactions with your team.  Those moments of surprise and delight.

Our Approach

For us, our gifting strategy is twofold, infrastructure and culture.  We put together loose infrastructure that helps to expedite and streamline gift logistics but at the same time does not restrict creativity and uniqueness. This is all while our internal leadership encourages full vertical engagement. If I an intern hears something in a meeting they think is important to the client, they are encouraged to approach the manager of the engagement and set the process in motion.  This keeps everyone’s ear to the ground and encourages full engagement with our clients.  While our work is our bread and butter, these small moments of surprise and delight are the chocolate cake.

How do you approach surprise and delight?