Leading Above and Beyond

How can the little things win over difficult people?

Companies that are customer-facing have the opportunity to deal with all kinds of situations and unforeseen challenges. Jon Brown, owner-chef of the award-winning catering and events company, 24 Carrots, models a leadership approach founded on exceeding customer expectations – particular when dealing with difficult people.
I would say that the two big rocks that create our client loyalty are, like we talked about, admitting when you did something wrong and fixing it and satisfying the client as best as you can. But the other thing is going above and beyond to make them happy, and that means giving them more than what they even thought they were going to get. When we show up to an event we want the client to walk away saying, "Man, that was amazing, I didn't even expect that." We've had situations where it's raining and we've got umbrellas and we're walking people with our umbrellas and they're like, "Wow, we didn't know you were going to bring umbrellas out for us." Little things that go such a long way and we get letter after letter from clients saying, "I can't believe you did this little thing, I can't believe that you took care of that," and it's those little things that make their experience more than what they thought they were getting. Best bang for your buck, sort of speak, but maybe in a little more pleasant way than saying it that way. Just giving them more than what they thought they were going to get, and if the employees see us dealing with our clients that way, they're going to deal with our clients that way. Certainly there's times to coach and certainly there are times when we need to engage our employees to solidify that a little bit. That's just management, but for the most part what people see, they follow. I think that's a huge thing.

Jon Brown

Jon Brown is pastor of Sandals Church in Riverside, California, and previous owner of 24 Carrots Catering and Events.

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