I remember when fish and chips were a normal and acceptable take away food, eaten once a week; either shared with school mates before the train ride home, on weekends with buddies or the traditional Friday night with the family. There was never enough vinegar on mine. I could drink that stuff.

And when you ordered your minimum fish and chips, with two potato cakes and extra vinegar, it was almost standard practice that you would get a third extra potato cake. If the order was for the family on a Friday night then it was also likely to see an extra piece of flake and possibly a dimmie (that’s a dim sim to you). The extra dimmie was seen as a gift to the old man—a somewhat sacred bond between seller and buyer that regardless of doctors’ orders or cholesterol count, belonged to Dad. After all he paid for the food, so the dimmie must be his.

That extra potato cake was a way of ensuring that you returned to that same place time and time again. There was never too much competition between sellers, no one raised the stakes and gave you two extra. In fact, if you got two extra you knew it was a genuine mistake and kept that between yourselves.

More businesses should take the time to reward their customers with an extra potato cake.

The extra potato cake should be a standard part of your offering to your clients. But what does that extra potato cake mean for your business? What is it that makes up that extra yard?

It cannot be something your customers don’t see or know about: your customers need to be aware that you’ve given them that extra service. It’s also important to think about the way you reveal that extra service. Think about the fish and chip shop. They never boasted about the extra potato cake. It wasn’t used as a point of sale, but as a method of generating loyalty.

The potato cake analogy is a great way to engage your team in a conversation about service. If they are a young team, they might not have the same history with this food strategy that sustained and fed a generation. So, tell them the story and how important it was. It will generate thought and be the launch pad for your own strategies.

Workshop with your team and develop a range of “extra potato cake” options so then when you kick off a project you’ll know when and how you can surprise and delight your client.

Meeting a brief and delivering on what the customer expects should be the norm and daily practice. If it isn’t, then get moving and deliver that as a minimum. After all, if your fish turns up without the chips, your customers aren’t going to be impressed by an extra potato cake.

Give them something for nothing, and watch them give you their trust and allegiance. So now, when someone asks for fish and chips with two potato cakes, you know what to do.

 

Image Credit: Alpha, https://www.flickr.com/photos/venturevancouver/galleries/72157625490247988/#photo_418752314