How to Stand Out in a Crowded Tank

Anna, about 3, immediately pulled Mom by the hand over to the lobster tank asking in a loud excited voice: “Where’s Larry?! Where’s Larry?!” as she approached the lobster tank at Captain Marden’s in Wellesley, MA.

Mom asked Steve, the man behind the counter, if he could take a moment and see if he could find Larry.

Steve grabbed the lobster rake and combed through the lobsters, at least a hundred of the little creatures. “I see him,” he told Anna, “it’ll just be a minute now.” You could see the rake being maneuvered with great intention to be sure to track down not just any lobster—but Larry the Lobster.

“There he is!” Steve exclaimed and reached in to pick up Larry to say hello to Anna. Anna was waving her hands and smiling from ear to ear as she visited Larry the Lobster. This whole vignette took less than two minutes.

No one in the crowded store seemed to mind Anna getting some special attention. Almost everyone in the store was smiling at how the nice man was able to find Larry out of all those lobsters. The store returned to normal, mom thanked Steve for his time and purchased some salmon for that night's dinner. And everyone was in a better mood than when they came in.

Captain Marden’s Seafood is a fish store, restaurant and restaurant supplier outside of Boston. The store, which operates within a quarter of a mile of a Whole Foods, offers excellent client service as well as excellent fish. The ability to take two minutes to the delight of Anna speaks to how Captain Marden’s thinks about their customers. Make them happy, have some fun and make customers feel special. Anna was happiest, but everyone felt good about Captain Marden’s. This may help explain the legions of people who buy fish at Captain Marden’s and then head to Whole Foods for the rest of their groceries.

Almost any business can make a customer or client feel special. One general counsel visited a law firm near Christmas and enjoyed a homemade cookie from his partner’s assistant. This general counsel raved about the cookie and then went about his business. He was delighted to receive a box of these same cookies three days later.

The smaller niceties, finding Larry the Lobster and sending cookies, often have an oversized impact because these acts of kindness are unexpected and personal. How can you apply this to your daily interactions? 

MBR