These days, it’s easy to feel small and insignificant – like a cog in a big machine. Maybe you wonder whether what you do and how you do it really matters.

Well, it does matter.

And that’s why I want to share with you a great experience I had earlier this year of an individual making a difference in daily life. It was in a Bed, Bath & Beyond store, of all places.

In fact, the experience was better than great. It was exceptional… a “10”.

Our exceptional experience

My husband and I were settling our daughter in at college and looking for bedding for her dorm room. If you’ve ever been in one of these stores, they’re a bit overwhelming with floor to ceiling varieties of everything you could think of. It’s a lot of stuff to take in.

Now, I always ask for help – to short cut the learning time. So I grab the first person with a name tag and ask for advice. She turned out to be a trainee and pretty clueless. I can almost hear my husband thinking, “I told you so!”.

So we wander around for a while, looking on our own, until another person comes by and asks if we need help. Well, we hit the jackpot with Susan.

When we ask about pillows, she explains that it’s personal to the position you like to sleep in – on your back, your side or your stomach. My daughter answers and then it becomes an easy choice.

Then it’s the blanket size – she recommends getting a Full size and not a Twin so it’s useful longer term. And as for material, much better to have the proper down comforter – the machine washable blankets get lumpy after a few rounds in the washer/dryer. And so forth.

We were in great hands. And better yet, the whole thing took 15 minutes.

But it was more than that.

The ripple effect

She made us feel confident that we were taking great care of our daughter. That we were being responsible parents. It was not only easeful, it was reaffirming.

The ripple effect of that exceptional experience made the entire rest of the day a “10” for us. And maybe we extended the positive waves to others we met that day.

Susan’s “formula” for an exceptional experience

So, what did Susan do or have that made it such an exceptional experience?

1. Connection

She was able to immediately connect with us and put us at ease. She had a great “client-side manner” – as in doctors who have a good “bedside manner”. She focused her attention on us and was calm, not distracted.

2. Knowledge

She was extremely competent and knew her product offerings well. In fact, her technical knowledge was superior and extensive.

3. Experience

This was clearly not her first rodeo, and that experience helped her come across as confident in her answers. And that gave us confidence, both in her and in knowing we were doing the best thing for our daughter.

4. Respect

She made us feel important and special – like we were the only people who mattered. She did this by the attention she paid to us, and listening to our questions and concerns before answering respectfully.

Any one of us can make a huge difference

This just goes to show that one individual can make a huge difference to our experience and also the results we achieve. It doesn’t matter whether we’re a small part of a huge organization or representing just ourselves.

And that’s true whether it’s during a shopping experience, while serving corporate clients, or when working with our internal team.

How can you provide an exceptional experience?

So, turning to you…

What’s that extra factor you could inject to make it an incredible experience for people to interact with you, whether that’s in your company, with your clients, or at home?

What can you do to make the experience a “10” for people you care about?

And when you see an individual making that difference, let them know you noticed.

Let’s encourage each other to create those exceptional experiences, and keep the positive ripple effect going…