Outrageous Service

Home Stager with House Dressing

In his book Positively Outrageous Service, T. Scott Gross explains the value of giving customers unexpected outrageous service at random.  Positively Outrageous Service consists of memorable events that are out of the ordinary and delivered in a way that develops customer relationships for life.


In his recent newsletter, Jim Paluch of JP Horizons, Inc. explains that although every contact you have with clients can be exceptional and caring, it’s when you throw in a little “Positively Outrageous Service” that customer loyalty truly develops, causing them to stick around to see what you will do next.  Below are examples from Gross’s book.


A couple was returning home on their wedding anniversary on a Delta flight to San Antonio.  Both were suffering miserable colds, they made a feeble attempt at humor by telling the ticket agent that they wee truly “sick and tired.” The agent wished them a happy anniversary and upgraded their tickets to first class seats.  Positively Outrageous Service and they will never fly another airline.


Phil Romano had a gimmick based on the psychological principle that random reward begets regular behavior.  Once a month on either a Monday or a Tuesday night (no one knew until it happened), everyone at his out of the way restaurant received a letter of appreciation instead of a bill.  The result was a packed house seven nights a week, customers coming back on the chance of hitting a lucky night and he had hundreds of “marketers” selling Macaronis on a daily basis to their friends.


How can this idea be applied to the real estate and home staging businesses?  For stagers it could be something as simple as a call after an open house to both the agent and the homeowner to find out how it went.  A free consultation sent randomly to an agent a few weeks after an office visit is also Positively Outrageous Service.


For agents,   offering a staging consultation as part of your listing services could be Positively Outrageous Service.  It shows that you really do care about selling a client’s home—you’re not going to just stick a sign in the yard and disappear.


What other ideas and examples of  Positively Outrageous Service are out there—please share.




For more information about JP Horizons visit  jphorizons.com I find his newsletters thought provoking.

Posted by

Deb Brodhecker

House Dressing Real Estate Staging & Interior Redesign, Sussex County, NJ



Comments (21)

John Caylor
Infinity Financial Group - Post Falls, ID
Post Falls, ID Mortgages
When you go that extra mile and make a client feel truly appreciated...they will tell everyone they know about you. Great post.
May 18, 2007 10:57 PM
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO
We seem to be lucky in the real estate industry- just keeping people well informed of showings and feedback appears to qualify as "outrageous" customer service.  We had to let a seller know last night that his showing resulted in no interest, and his comment was, "You guys are the best- thanks for letting us know- no one else did before you."  It can't possibly be this simple, yet appears to be...
May 18, 2007 11:15 PM
Darlene Raymond
Staged Right - Beverly Hills, FL
This has given me food for thought....excellent post. 
May 18, 2007 11:40 PM
Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN
I like the idea!  It would be nice to figure out a way to provide extra ordinary service to my clients in away that would translate something special for them and not make me go broke at the same time.
May 19, 2007 12:49 AM
Debra Brodhecker
House Dressing - Branchville, NJ
House Dressing, New Jersey

Thanks everyone for commenting.  In the free meal example the owner chose to spend the bulk of his marketing budget on complimentary meals.  His cost though for this outrageous service averaged out to be a 12.5% discount--not so expensive after all.


May 19, 2007 01:27 AM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
When Realtors are kind enough to let me come to their AM meetings - I bring homemade caramel and cinnamon buns.  Not too outrageous, but they are outrageously good.
May 19, 2007 06:27 AM
Debra Brodhecker
House Dressing - Branchville, NJ
House Dressing, New Jersey

I think home baked goodies are outrageous!  What has been the Realtors response do they "stick" with you (bad pun)?  Seriously,  does it help them remember you and your business?



May 19, 2007 10:58 PM
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento
Wow, I really like this concept.  Thank you for sharing.  You got me thinking ;)
May 20, 2007 02:55 PM
Penny Schoenbeck
AZ Home Styling & Redesign - Mesa, AZ
AZ Home Styling

Hi Deb,

Great post! I love the various ideas. I was just thinking I'm staging a house next week and he only wants the main living spaces done. I could throw in a smaller (bathroom, laundry room, etc.) room complimentry, he would definatly love that. Thanks!!  

May 20, 2007 05:31 PM
Flemington, NJ
Good points, I need to remind myself to think about how I can exceed my customer's expectations.
May 21, 2007 04:12 AM
Christopher Onwuasoanya
Atlantic Waste & Power System - Sparta, NJ
Good write up. I need to try this too.
Jul 24, 2007 09:24 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Debra, It is interesting that you mention this on the same day that I just looked at a website for a fellow who has contacted me about creating an alliance with his business. On his site I saw a testimonial which was thanking him for fixing the lights on a Christmas tree. No, it was not his job. But the fact that he did it has not only gained him that persons loyalty, but it has also impressed a number of other potential clients and by golly it has impressed me. Being outrageous can be simple and need not be expensive.
Jul 24, 2007 10:49 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
I love that idea Debra.  Now you have me thinking how I too can provide something outrageous to please the client.
Jul 24, 2007 01:18 PM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
Hi again Debra.  After my comment yesterday I realized I do provide outrageous service.  Once a month I check on my vacants, to make sure inventory is still there and still where I put it.  In the process I pick up trash in the yard, pull weeds, sweep the porch, whatever needs attention on the outside of the house.  Those are things, in my opinion, should be done by the listing agents, but apparently they dont do that sort of dirty work.  Also, as a service to my vacant property clients, I go back in three months after staging and do some restaging.  I swap out props, reposition, whatever, to make the staging look fresh.  All this at no charge.  So I guess I do provide some outrageous service to my clients.
Jul 25, 2007 08:17 AM
Amanda Woodall
Transistional Designs, LLC - O'Fallon, IL
Transitional Designs, LLC
I love this idea.  It really does not take much to stand out in the clients mind.  They do realize when you are going the extra mile.  Recently we worked with a client who had a less than par agent.  We helped develop a marketing plan and helped carry it out.  This included compiling a list of agents in the area and creating a custom flyer the seller could email out.  The open house was a sucess (they barely had viewings before) and the client was so pleased.  In my mind, it is also in my best interest if the house sells fast also, so I dont mind helping make that happen.
Jul 25, 2007 04:15 PM
Coco Lemmon
Concepts by Coco, Home Staging, Portland, Oregon - Portland, OR
Concepts by CoCo - Homestager - Portland, OR
Great ideas. My "outrageous service" is to send a Starbucks card to new Realtors after my staging. It is just a thank-you so they realize I appreciate their business and would like to continue working with them.
Jul 25, 2007 04:41 PM
Debra Brodhecker
House Dressing - Branchville, NJ
House Dressing, New Jersey
These are some great ideas!  I just got a referral from a woman who was thrilled because I took the time during a consultation to thoroughly discuss a landscaping plan.  I'm a Master Gardener so felt comfortable doing that and the out side of the house really needed some help.  That kind of advertising is priceless!
Jul 26, 2007 01:54 AM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales
Fantastic ideas everyone!  It has given me a few thoughts of how I can show my appreciation to those who use my business!! THANK YOU!!  Regards-Kathleen
Jul 26, 2007 02:28 AM
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Deb, I recently did a consultation report for a couple looking to downsize in a few years and wanted advice as what to do with their home to get it ready for sale in the next year or two (I love Pro-Active home sellers!  They are my favorite!)  Long story short, I usually ask if they prefer I mail a hard copy of the report or send it via email.  I offer the option because email is so much faster although a hard copy is more personal...I let them decide.  They opted for email to get it faster and save me postage.  As I did their report, it became rather lengthy in comparison to other reports I've done, so I did email it but I told them not to print it out as I decided to mail a hard copy also since it was so long.  I think that was a small gesture of unexpected and I felt good doing it.  Whether or not they saw it that way, I don't know but I thought it was the right thing to do!

(What is a lucuma?)

Jul 26, 2007 02:51 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
Hi again Debra, after much thinking about how I provide outrageous service, usually unbeknownst to my clients, I've decided to use that in my marketing, letting them know how much more they will get from me than just staging.  I think out of town vacant owners would appreciate knowing their property is being looked after.  Now the hard part, getting realtors to pass this information along to their clients.  Thanks for the "outrageous" idea!
Jul 26, 2007 04:06 AM