Tampa Bay Lightning A great brand
Great brands connect to customers in emotional ways. They surprise them, delight them and make them feel special.

This past week I took my mother to her first Tampa Bay Lightning game. I go often, and as always the experience was blast. The Lightning hospitality team is world-class. I’ve blogged about them before. Every staffer treats you like you are the most important customer.

As my mom and I were headed to our seats, we asked the usher for assistance. I mentioned to him this was my mom’s first time to a Tampa Bay Lightning game.

Acting like we were the most important fans in the house, he introduced himself as Tom. We small talked with him for a few minutes.  He told us how much he loved his job and that he had worked for the Lightning for ten seasons.

He walked us to our seats, two rows behind the goalie. The game was exciting. Although sometimes it got a little scary as the players slammed up against the glass that was inches from us.

Tied at 2-2 after the first period, Tom the usher who showed us our seats reappeared. This time bearing a big first-time fan button and personalized certificate signed by Lighting’s mascot Thunder Bolt and former Lightning team captain, now VP of Fans, Dave Andreychuk recognizing my mother and welcoming her to Lightning Bolt nation.

That’s customer service. That’s a brand that gets the importance of making a customer feel awesome.  That small, unexpected gesture made my mom’s night.

What do you do to make first-time customers feel special? If nothing, what can you do to make the experience memorable?

Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Give them a branded gift.
  • Let them sample or try something you sell.
  • Personalize some part of their experience with their name.
  • Gift them some type of incentive voucher to return soon. This could be an added value bonus with purchase, or a percentage off (depending on your pricing strategy). Either way, the goal is when they do come back, make them feel special again.
  • Send them a hand written thank you note.

Brand on!