“Surprise & Delight Moments” are those times (especially in customer service) when you begin to build relationships with people. This story is about a recent experience I had:

This story took place in about a men’s department in a department store where a sales professional stepped up to provide a “Surprise & Delight” for me.  He was an Italian gentleman, who had on a perfectly pressed suit and a colorful tie you just couldn’t miss.  He had a big smile and bent over with a bow, saying, “Your wish is my command.  If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.”

“Thank you so much,” I said.

I was really just looking, but with an introduction like that I looked again to see if there was something I needed.  Just as he said that we both heard quick- paced clunking of high heels on the tile floor.  His smile slightly faltered, as a supervisor approached him.  I was about to ask him a question, when she barked, ” Antonio!  Did you read your Directive for today ?”

He hesitated and started to answer her, but she cut him off.

” Well did you?  I need you to read your Directive every morning.  Do you understand?”

The ‘Surprise & Delight” moment was ruined.  I couldn’t believe this lady would say that to him in front of me, the customer.  Maybe Antonio needs to read his Directive, but not as much as she needs to read a book on professionalism.

How much of that do you or your people do?  Do they know that they are “on stage” whenever they are with a customer, and that an opportunity for a sale should never be interrupted with an organization’s internal needs?  That’s why they make employee headsets.  That’s why you have morning huddles.  That’s why there are back rooms “off stage” to chat about matters concerning the organization or its people.  And as for what you and another team member need to talk about concerning an internal matter, customers don’t really care.


1.  Are you always focused ONLY on the customer during a business interaction?

2.  Do you answer ALL the questions necessary in your morning huddles so that fewer “stage” moments are ruined?

3.  Do your people know that they only discussion between them and another team member should be to help that    customer satisfy a need?


Best of luck in setting the stage for more uninterrupted “Surprise & Delight Moments.”  When uninterrupted, you may have more sales than you ever imagined.

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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
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