I was in Oslo, about a week ago. The weather was nice (for once, it was actually sunny), and I was out walking. I was looking for a place to sit and write on my novel. I was thinking about finding a table at a nice coffee shop, but instead I ended up on the lawn of the fortress.
The view was fantastic, and although it looked like some tourists thought I was an attraction, I was really focused and did some of my best writing. Usually, I write at home, in my cramped office space (it’s really a closet), but going outside, among people, turned out to be a good thing.
The American Celebrity
I wrote for about two hours. And that was it. I had to take a short break and go for a walk. So I did. I walked by the water, and was just looking from side to side at all the different people, when I discovered a guy walking towards me. He was talking on the phone, not loud, but I could hear that he was an American. I looked a little closer, I’m always fascinated when I hear someone speak a different langauge (other than Norwegian). I had seen this guy before, but I just couldn’t remember where I had seen him.
He was still talking on the phone as I walked passed him. I decided that he was just a regular tourist, untill I heard the loudest scream I have ever heard (at least it felt like that at the time). A lot of fourteen year old girls (I’m just guessing how old they are) was running towards me hysterically screaming.
I knew that I wasn’t the reason why they were running and screaming, so a new thought appear to me, one that was something like; “I guess the guy I just passed was not just an ordinary tourist, and that there’s a reason why I thought I had seen him before.”
It turned out that the guy was Chris Medina, from American Idol and currently singing the famous song “What are words”. He was going to be on stage somewhere in Oslo later that day. As I turned and looked straight at him, he was nowhere to be seen. That’s because all the girls were flocking around him like seagulls on a piece of bread.
WOW – What a Surprise!
As I was standing on the sidewalk and looking at the screaming girls that almost crushed the little American guy to death, I thought about the reason for their behavior. I wasn’t thinking about the part about the famous, very cute guy, I was thinking about the element of surprise.
Would these girls have acted like they did if it was all arranged? What if it had been announced that Chris Medina was going to be signing his latest album somehwere at a specific time, would they have acted the same? My answer to this question is no, they wouldn’t. Because then, they would have had the time to think about their actions, and they would have had time to process some thoughts, and build up their expectations (or lack of expectations).
Well, you might say that I’m wrong, and say; ”just look at how crazy people get around celebrities all the time, no matter if they know they are going to be there or not.” Still, you get my point.
If you don’t know about the surprise, the experience will be a lot better. When we experience a surprise, we will get happier, and we will not forget as fast as if it wasn’t a surprise.
The Thank You Economy
As I was trying to find out if Chris Medina needed my help to run away from the hysterical-still-screaming teenagers, I started to think about the book I recently finished reading.
What I just experienced reminds me a lot about what Gary Vaynerchuck is talking about in The Thank You Economy. We should treat all of our customers as they are the most important people in the world. And, we should be adding an element of surprise in their experiences with us (the last part is actually my words and not from Gary).
I’m talking about what Zappos are doing in order to deliver happiness. Add free overnight shipping, add some extra free gadgets, or some incredible fancy packaging. Add something positive that the customers didn’t know about. Nothing beats a fantastic surprise. Your customers will love you, and they will never let you go.
For all that I know, poor Chris Medina is still crushed between hundreds of teenage girls somewhere in Oslo.