Blueprinting and Other Calculated Surprises
Human beings are apparently hardwired to remember things that surprise us. That’s led to establishing surprise clinics, where people in the service industry learn about creating positive surprises for their customers. But how does this translate to cultures where people typically aren’t encouraged to deviate from the normal way of doing things? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Magnini: Take the example of a toddler with a Jack-in-the-Box. The first time that thing pops out they cry and they’re scared, but then they start cranking the handle again. They love to be surprised.
Author and hospitality manager Vince Magnini.
Magnini: All consumers around the world like being surprised by small things. Everyone likes feeling a special, regardless of your nationality. But what we’re finding is that in collective cultures where folks don’t want to stand out, in cultures such as Japan or China where “the tall grass get crushed by the wind and the lead bird gets shot”, it’s the employees who don’t want to take the risk of carrying out surprise ideas.
Magnini: So a strategy that hotels for example are employing, is they’re having the employees come together and come up with the surprise ideas as a collective group. That way it’s not one employee in particular that comes up with the idea. And they found some success doing that.
There’s a technique called blueprinting where you sketch a service area and then employees come together and study the sketch and they collectively come up with ideas. They’ve had a little more success at that. That way, if something goes wrong in a service organization, the employees predetermine what they would do in certain situations collectively. That way they don’t feel so reluctant to be empowered if situations surface.
So here’s a surprise. Visit Pulse of the Planet on Facebook and tell us your suggestions for fun and innovative surprises for businesses that serve us. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands on approach to education and research.