How does an 84-year-old living in a nursing home make it backstage to meet their favorite country music star?

For that nursing home, the answer is easy—by having an excellent staff and rewarding exceptional service.

Last week while speaking for the TENNESSEE HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION, I heard a cool story about Mary, the self-proclaimed world’s biggest Randy Travis fan. When Mary’s occupational therapist heard that Travis would be performing near where she lived, she had an inspiration — take Mary to see Travis live. She approached the family who loved the idea, and the plan began to develop.

To make sure the event was extra special, she also contacted Travis’s backstage manager to ask if he would meet with one of his biggest fans.

The request eventually made it to Travis’s wife who pitched the idea to her husband. After the show, Mary was the last person allowed backstage to fulfill a dream she never imagined in her lifetime – a personal meet and greet with one of country music’s biggest stars.

Afterwards, Mary told Deb, administrator of the community where she lives that the evening was a once in a lifetime experience and one in which she would never forget. “It was one of the best nights of my life,” she added.

Instead of displaying the post-concert autographed photo of her holding hands with Travis, Mary keeps it hidden as she is afraid it will fall off the wall and break.

Deb told me that her organization lives by the motto that “we do whatever it takes and then some” to create exceptional experiences for our residents. Staff who really go the extra mile are rewarded through their Champion’s Playbook program.

Imagine the logistics and potential challenges with executing an experience like Mary had. Star performers refuse to let potential problems sabotage their ideas. They take time to formulate well thought-out plans even when there are very real challenges.

For some people, the risks would have trumped the reward. The therapist likely considered some of the challenges with executing her idea but those challenges didn’t detour her.

In today’s world where exceptional service and creating extreme experiences are rare, it’s important to stand out. It’s equally important to give your team the freedom and support to act on their ideas even when they are as seemingly challenging as transporting an 84-year-old woman to a concert.

Sometimes all it takes is one seemingly “crazy” idea to create an experience that will never be forgotten.

Ask Mary, she’ll tell you.

#customerexperience #employeeengagement #leadershipdevelopment

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