Business and leadership lessons from Alaska – part 2

Back in part one of this series, I mentioned how important it was to tell, or be part of, a story.  This has a greater impact on your ability to connect with your customers than simply spouting facts and figures. This time around I wanted to tackle the second lesson I learned while in Alaska – Give Great Value! (Number 3 is to Be Honest, and that will be covered in part 3 of the series).

Give Great Value

When Linda and I heard that we would be traveling near the Chilkat Eagle Preserve in Alaska, we quickly set out to book a tour in the area.  A little Google-izing connected us to Captain Dave.  Thank you, Google!

Captain Dave’s website boasts a slow float tour of the Chilkat Valley, with plenty of opportunities to see Bald Eagles in their natural habitat.  We signed up, and got excited.

When we met Dave on the day of the tour, he informed us that there hasn’t been enough run-off from the glaciers yet this year and the water level in the valley was too low.  There were very few fish, which meant very few eagles.  Not to worry, though, Captain Dave had a Plan B.

Dave took us by boat to Dyea, which wasn’t all that far from the cruise ship terminals when counted by miles, but it was worlds away in terms of scenery and wildlife fun.  We saw eagles and seals and enjoyed Dave’s narration of local history and lore.  It was a GREAT tour, even if it wasn’t exactly what we signed up for.

Here’s where the great value comes in.  After the boat tour, Captain Dave said, “Because we didn’t get to go where you planned, take my van and explore Skagway this afternoon.  There is a map in the front seat, just have it back to the cruise terminal by 3 pm.”

Really?  You are giving us your van for the day?  How cool!  So, we did exactly what Dave told us to do… we explored Skagway.  Had to be one of the best days we had in Alaska!  We ended up picking up some friends who happened to be walking through town, and they couldn’t believe we had a van for the day.  Neither could we!  Many of the things we got to do later that day were a direct result of Dave’s kindness.  Click here to read more about that if you’d like.

So here’s the real question… what sort of value do you add or provide to your customers, even when they aren’t expecting it?  Captain Dave’s boat tour was better than expected, and the use of his van was over the top!  You might imagine that more than just gas money was left in the van when we dropped it off.  All of our friends pitched in to provide a healthy tip.  A direct example of how kindness and adding value adds to your bottom line.

PS – Even before the van offer, Linda and I were so impressed by Dave’s tour that we wanted to help him build his business.  We shot this quick video of him that he can now use on his website.  It was free to him, and we were glad to do it!

Coming soon – part 3: Be honest.

Thanks for reading!

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