Last night my husband and I had dinner out and because the weather was so close to ideal – cool temperatures and low humidity, we chose a local establishment based on one criterion alone, the availability of outdoor seating.

Two doors down from the restaurant we chose is another unique little restaurant where I had dined with a girlfriend just the week before and I mentioned, as a future recommendation, that my friend thought it was one of the best meals she had ever eaten. That statement launched us into a conversation about the top 10 meals we had shared over the years. In doing so, we discovered that there were just a few elements that determined whether we remembered a meal as being superior – thus making the top 10.

You would think the first and most important criteria would be the food itself and of course, this was a factor but in an overwhelming majority of the cases, what made a particular meal stand out in our memory was the experience: the location, the companions, the view, or quite simply, the interactions with or the experience of the staff pushed certain places to the top of our memory, more so than the food we ate.

Now, your establishment, dining or otherwise, may not have the luxury of offering breathtaking vistas, unique staging or exotic ambiance but that doesn’t mean the experience cannot be special – even special enough to place you at the top of a consumer’s memory when it is time for them to recall their own top ten.

As is the case with so many things, the first step in creating a memorable customer experience is to have a plan! The Edward Lowe Foundation, an organization designed to foster entrepreneurship, has built an on-line resource center that offers a great self-assessment for sussing out a comprehensive customer experience plan.

In order to create a customer experience that elevates your business into the consumer’s top 10, you must consider a strategy that works to elevate every touch point of the client/business relationship. This even includes the space in-between visits. Keeping track of visitors and actively asking them to repeat their experience with you is key, given the number of choices they have. It is a comprehensive mix of all the ingredients in your plan that launches the complete customer experience.

Manning Media has the ingredients for crafting a recipe for success – stirring in special experiences through engaging events, pepper in your special offers with digital display, and getting your customers coming back for seconds with our automated engagement methodologies. We even offer our own free lunch – a Lunch and Learn series to help you where your self-assessment results show there may be gaps.

Call us at 301-620-7700 in Frederick, 301-733-4500 in Hagerstown or register for one of our upcoming Lunch and Learn seminars.

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