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Business Lessons from a College Move-In Day

August 24, 2015

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small business owners


Business lessons are gleaned in the most unlikely places and improbable times. If entrepreneurs keep their eye open all the time, they can witness good business practices in unexpected places.

As I dropped my son off at Syracuse University, we experienced outstanding customer service, efficient procedures and helpful instructions that began as soon as we tried parking our car to unload his possessions. We witnessed student volunteers moving his entire belongings on a hot, humid day to his new dorm room so we didn’t have to, we ate a free lunch in a pretty sharp dining hall to give us energy and then we were invited to tour campus before leaving with welcoming tents, directional boards and volunteers ensuring we were enjoying our time. If I had to describe the experience in one word I would say, “Exceptional.”

I’ve been an event planner for 25 years so I understand the attention to detail that goes into moving in 3,200 freshmen at one time while making the transition less overwhelming and more enjoyable than expected for parents. As I sat on the steps of Hendricks Chapel watching student volunteers dressed in orange welcome everyone they saw, golf carts loaded with free water and soda being driven around the quad to refresh parents and heard music playing from impromptu musical groups, I thought to myself, “Every entrepreneur should work harder to please their customers unexpectedly and as often as they can.”

Today I’m sharing some valuable take-aways from this moving-in day experience that might inspire you to stun your customers too:

* Everyone wants to be treated like a VIP no matter who they are. Being recognized, being given unexpected perks and being showered with attention is something easy to do and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Think of how you could impress your customers by doing something unexpected or special for them at least once a year if not more often. Keep your eyes open and notice what impresses you and then implement it in your company.

* Go beyond typical communication when you can. Go the extra mile in writing letters or picking up the phone if your guests are having issues understanding warranties, procedures or ways to utilize your company. Send out periodic updates on new corporate services or policies to keep clients informed. Make sure you have an open door policy when it comes to taking and handling customer complaints. Portray a helpful and friendly communication style whenever possible.

*Spending a small amount of money to make a customer comfortable, costs little in the end. What would your customers enjoy to make working with you better? Investigate options and invest the money. Shower your clients with one or two items throughout the year (not just at the holidays) to make their lives easier or happier; or just to show you care.

HendricksChapelMusicToday I hope you consider what your company needs to do in practices, communications and giveaways to give your trusted and valued clients an exceptional experience.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 24, 2015 2:34 pm

    I remember those college move-in days ~ First for myself and then for each of my children! And I would say that one of their schools definitely followed the model your son’s school did and the other, well not so much. There is no doubt that the entire procedure was made so much better when thought was given as to what we needed and didn’t even know we needed. Using these principles in our own businesses definitely makes sense!


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