Put a Bow on It | The Art of Wrapping and Trimming Your Customer Experience


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For as many times as I have done it myself or experienced it, you’d think I would have made this connection much earlier. My newly emerging awareness involves the symbolic relationship between outstanding customer experience delivery and the practice of wrapping a personalized present and then putting a bow on it.

Allow me to explain…

When purchasing a present for someone we love, most of us think about the recipient’s stated and unstated wants, needs, and desires (of course there are those presents we buy simply because we want them. That may explain why my parents weren’t excited by that video game system I bought for them when I was a teenager).

Assuming we’ve taken the time to understand our customer, in this case, the present’s recipient, we also strive to get that perfect gift to them by the time they would expect it (in the case of Christmas, many of us are sprinting to get presents purchased and delivered by December 24th). Finally, to heighten the emotional experience associated with delivering our gift and to build excitement, we typically place the item in a box, wrap it in colorful paper, and top it with a ribbon. For my children and grandchildren, I’ve been known to give them a piece of string (nice present, right?) such that they can follow the string’s circuitous path around my house to find their wrapped item. This twisted string approach is done to build adventure and anticipation.

While working with Mercedes-Benz, I was reminded of the power of a bow. Since you can’t put a car in a box very easily, I was amazed by the impact of having a bow placed on a car at the time of delivery (whether it was given as a gift or if it was a self-purchase). The internet is awash with people who share pictures of bows on cars.

Next year I will be writing a book about a company for whom I have the good fortune of working. It’s Godiva. Leaders at Godiva, have mastered the art of packaging as reflected by Godiva’s iconic “Gold Ballotin” (much like Tiffany’s blue box) it’s an example of the iconic and emotional power of a well-packaged gift – topped either with a gold or red ribbon.

So, here are two ideas for you to consider as you celebrate this holiday season with loved ones and position yourself for continued customer experience success in 2020:

  • Pay attention to the role boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbons play in the emotional experiences you share this season. How do they create anticipation? How do they symbolize care, love, and specialness? Finally, how do they heightened sensation, elevate emotion, and enhance a peak moment?
  • Take a ribbon from the holiday festivities back to your office in the new year. Place it so you can see it regularly. As it catches your eye, let it remind you that great experiences involve knowing your customer, placing the right gift (your products/services) in front of them when they want it (easily/conveniently) and then driving emotional connection (by wrapping it colorfully and putting a bow on it).

May you have a colorful season filled with bows. I look forward to speaking with you in the new year as you continue to differentiate your customer experience from your competitors. Simply reach out to me here and we’ll find a time to talk.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


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