- I’ve raved about this experience from the moment I called in a reservation. My wife and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary at a restaurant participating in Des Moines’ Restaurant Week. Fleming’s was the closest and we’d never been there before, so off we went.
- I called at 2p the day before our date. The man on the phone was pleasant, courteous, and informative. He called me, “Mr. Wise.” Love it.
- When we showed up, they had a prime spot overlooking the whole dining room waiting for us. The hosting staff both wished us a happy anniversary. Nice touch. It was clear that details mattered to the staff.
- Within minutes of sitting down, we had a courtesy chef’s plate appetizer, our drinks, something they called their “artisan bread appetizer” (read: a loaf of really good bread), and a detailed explanation of the specials. I leaned over to my wife and said, “we haven’t even eaten anything yet and I’m already a raving fan.” Intentionality goes a long way with me.
- Our waiter was fantastic. Helpful, knowledgeable, and gave us just enough room to breathe.
- The food, for what’s it worth, was exquisite. I had lamb chops with crispy polenta, a lobster tail, and a dirty martini with bleu cheese-stuffed olives (my fav). Kerry had seared scallops, a house salad, and a glass of white wine.
- To top it off, they gave us a handwritten anniversary card, a $25 gift card for our next visit, and a box of chocolate truffles.
- Final thought: Totally classy. Totally worth it. Totally going back. (Note: look how little I talk about the food.)
- I signed up for beta access 18 months ago, and I’m finally getting to experience the awesomeness of Bank Simple.
- Long story short, they’re making the banking industry, with all its hidden fees and complicated withdrawal procedures, simple. And it’s working.
- I received a beautiful bank card in the mail recently. The packaging was earthy, tactile, and beautiful. Adjectives not usually associated with banks!
- The website and corresponding iOS app matches the offline branding perfectly. It’s simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use. I don’t have to guess where my money is and/or going.
- Final thought: They have a “call customer care” button right on the main screen of the iOS app. In other words, they’re not afraid of you calling them. I got a recording when I called, but it was a Saturday morning. Within two hours of leaving a message, a real human being called me back and answered my questions. There was even a dog barking the background, which was oddly charming. A very human-like banking experience!
- I had my first experience flying Southwest recently, and I loved it. I can see why people rave about this airline.
- First, you can only purchase tickets online through Southwest.com. Their fares don’t appear on the cheap tickets website. This annoyed me at first, but the longer I sat on it, the more I appreciated it. They’re saying, “We have something special to offer you here. We want to make sure we can control that experience.” Panaché.
- I hadn’t flown Southwest, but I was aware that their seating policy was unique. I asked the woman at the ticket counter how things worked and she was genuinely happy to welcome me to the airline. The pilot for the flight was at the counter as well and, again, he genuinely and warmly welcomed. It was almost off-putting, considering the treatment most of us receive at other airlines (more on that later).
- I ended up getting a decent seat, mostly because the flight attendant told me where to sit (I was one of the first ones on the plane).
- I think Southwest allows the flight crew to dress as they please, as long as it’s “official” gear. One gal had on shorts, the other pants, and the male flight attendant had on some vest get-up. Individuality within limits. Love it.
- Final thought: All the marketing in the world can’t make up for a pleasant experience. Southwest gave me just that.
Willow Creek Leadership Summit
- I was fortunate enough to serve on the 2012 Willow Creek Leadership Summit blogging team. While on-site. we were given the royal treatment and it didn’t go unnoticed.
- When I arrived, we were promptly handed a gift bag with thoughtful items like a Moleskine pocket notebook, pens, mints and candy, a program, and, of course, energy drinks to keep our fingers flying throughout the day.
- Each meal was catered in, just a few feet from our blogging stations. This wasn’t just cold cuts and continental breakfasts–the food was exquisite. Very intentional. Well thought-out dietary choices. And tasty.
- The atmosphere in the blogging room was perfect. Low lighting, properly positioned chairs and couches, and a live-feed from the auditorium. Plus, much to Laura Ortberg-Turner’s dismay, the room was adequately chilled.
- Final thought: Not only were the amenities near perfection, the staff at Willow Creek, specifically Rachel Lance, Hanna Koenig, and Rena Kosiek, were absolute gems. Unbelievable hospitality, grace, and servanthood coming from this team. You don’t forget that kind of stuff.
Have you ever had a great experience with a company, person, or service? What was it like? What did it leave you feeling like? Share in the comments below!