Little things make a difference.
I got my hair cut today at Gentleman’s Top Option today in Burlington Vermont. Normally I’m the sort of guy who goes for the no frills, ten dollar hair cut. But I’d gotten a string of bad ones and I was sick of looking (more) like a goon. So under a recommendation from a good friend I tried a new place and I’m never looking back.
The reason? The experience was so much better. First I got a much better haircut — it was a better product. For some reason things just seem better when you have a haircut that you like. Second, the experience of getting the haircut was superior. At GTO I got my hair shampooed and my head massaged. I got a hot towel and a straight razor shave on my neck. At my last ten dollar haircut, the barber talked about his gout. Seriously.
It seems to me that a product that people want paired with a meaningful, memorable, pleasant experience will keep folks coming back. So, how do libraries do something like this? We have products people want: web access, books, DVDs, help with research (it’s different for every library). Now how do we deliver those products in a meaningful way and create an experience that will make people keep coming back?
I think some of it has to do with the very personal service we deliver. Sometimes it is something simple like a smile or going a little above and beyond to find some piece of information. It could be something like offering food during finals week to keep people’s energy up. But I think a lot of it has to do with the service and caring that you are giving to patrons.
What do you think? How doing we create experiences that make people want to come back, and maybe even recommend our service to others?