The Double-Platinum Rule 2.0: Inform & Inspire

When I wrote the Double Platinum Rule years ago, my intent was to communicate the importance of exceeding customer expectations. To exceed expectations, you must not only treat people the way they want to be treated (Platinum Rule), but treat people the way they don’t even know they want to be treated (Double-Platinum Rule). I even shared some examples. Then, something recently hit me. Many people may think that the double-platinum Rule is only about anticipating needs. It is not. The double-platinum rule is also about providing information that the customer may not have known otherwise. In other words, the true essence of the double-platinum rule is to add value to someone else’s life beyond the basic service transaction.

Example 1: I enjoy getting massages. I’ve been to many exquisite spas throughout the world, and have received countless massages. On a recent trip to the luxurious Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, WI, the spa director told me something that I never heard before.  She said that one of the best things I could do is to spend approximately 10 minutes in a steam room or sauna immediately before getting a massage. The purpose is so that my muscles could be nice and relaxed.  This would allow the therapist to effectively massage my muscles (instead of spending precious time trying to loosen up the muscles first). I will take that piece of advice with me for the rest of my life. From now on, every massage I get will be preceded by me spending time in a steam room or sauna. The spa director informed and inspired me with knowledge that I did not know otherwise.

Example 2: Recently, I was at the local post office in my neighborhood, and saw a man struggling with multiple boxes while trying to open the front door at the same time. I immediately went to assist him. After thanking me, he mentioned that he hates the weekly chore of bringing all of his packages to the post office (he mentioned that he runs an eBay home business). I then explained that he could actually stay at home, go online, print the postage and schedule the packages to be picked up from his house.  He was in utter amazement that such a service existed. Then, he became slightly irritated that no one at the post office had ever told him about the services I had just described.

Example 3: Just recently, I was on the phone with Korean Air to finalize a trip to Southeast Asia from Washington DC.  Although my ticket was purchased online, I had to call Korean Air to purchase the plane ticket for my baby daughter. The customer service representative promptly inquired if I would like to order baby food for my daughter. I said, “Of course! I didn’t even know that airlines offered baby food”. She then explained that my baby’s food would be delivered at the same time as everyone else’s meals. Wow. The airline rep then asked if I would like to request an airline bassinet seat. “What’s an airline bassinet seat?”, I asked. She explained that it was a bassinet that my daughter can sleep in so she wouldn’t have to be held for the entire trip. Again, wow. I did not know that such products or services existed.

To enliven the double-platinum rule, ask yourself this question: What products and/or services does my company offer that some customers may not know about? Then, starting today, begin listening intently to your customers…not only to what they are saying, but also listen to their mood and what they are hoping to achieve. The Kohler Waters Spa director listened to how much I enjoyed massages and used that as an opportunity to help enhance my massage experience from that point forward. The Korean Air customer service rep learned that I would be traveling with my daughter and immediately informed me about the airline’s baby food and bassinet seat options. In the post office, I listened to a fellow customer’s weekly disdain for bringing packages to the post office. I used that as an opportunity to inform him about the post office’s various at-home options. In all three examples, someone was informed and inspired.  That is the essence of the double-platinum rule.

Contrary to what many people think, wowing customers does not have to be an expensive task. Many times a WOW moment may not cost anything. Look for ways to wow daily. The key word is daily. Behaviors become habits when they are done everyday (preferably multiple times per day). To inform and inspire is to add value to someone else’s life. The double-platinum rule is about providing knowledge that someone can take with them. Above all, strive to make the double-platinum rule your own minimum expectation for exceeding your customer’s expectations, and the WOW moments will come naturally.

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