How Merely Asking Yourself, “What Else?” Will Transform Your Customer Experience

Cannot quit work

My daughter and I were exploring supplements at Whole Foods on Saturday. I’d grabbed Matcha powder, MCT oil, and ground flaxseed. An employee with happy robin eyes spotted my bounty and whispered a tip, “If you can wait a few days, all of our supplements are going to be 25% off August 2-4, and Prime members get an additional 10% off. I can get you a bag and hold your items for you if you like.”

I needed the ground flaxseed for a vegan recipe, but the other times could wait. “That’s so generous of you to share! Yes, I’d like to start a bag, please,” I said, shocked by the employee’s helpful tip, and grateful. My little bag was chock-full when I handed it back to the happy-eyed employee to hold for me until Friday.

The Whole Foods employee used a technique that I call the “What else?” approach. This technique is to think of what else can I do/offer to make this experience the best it can be? I’ve had three recent happy experiences of front-line customer service employees asking “what else?” with me. Let’s quickly look at these situations, and then I hope you’ll take my challenge of asking “what else” you can do to surprise and delight your customers.

1. My bank thought to help me with two issues

I couldn’t log in to my banking app one afternoon. I thought I’d paid my home owner’s association dues, but I didn’t remember the check clearing, but I couldn’t access my account. On the phone with the bank, the agent asked a few security questions, and then gave me the status of my check. Then he offered his what else, “If you have a moment, I can reset your password and stay on the line while you test it so you can access your account from your phone.”

2. A client turned me on to Waze using the what else approach

I’d wrapped up filming for a client in Carpinteria last month, and I asked my client how much time I should allow getting to LAX for my flight the next morning. He suggested at least 90 minutes, and the what else he shared was his favorite traffic app, Waze, explaining that I could put in the time I wanted to be there and that the app would figure traffic, the best routes, and the time I needed to be on the road. I’ve been using Waze ever since!

3. A coffee shop offered to grind my coffee beans

When I picked up a bag of decaf coffee beans recently, the employee helping me offered to grind the beans for me. While I have a grinder and prefer to grind right before brewing, I know that most people don’t have a coffee grinder. This what else solves a problem for many customers.

When we were heading to check out at Whole Foods, I saw this display.


It turns out Mr. Robin Eyes was merely promoting the upcoming sale, and I wasn’t singled out for insider deals. Still, I received the gesture as a generous surprise.

My Challenge to You

Always think, “what else” when you’re serving customers. What information or help can I offer to surprise and delight my customers? When you do, you’ll foster a sense of rapport and connection that gets your customers talking, and coming back!

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