Summers in the Midwest can be uncomfortably hot and humid. In spite of that fact, last Sunday my husband and I took an afternoon walk. The blazing sun, the gnats circling in the air and the absence of cloud cover compelled us to shorten our walk. In the thirty minute duration of that excursion we encountered something unexpected — a woman with a cooler full of water giving, not selling, bottles of water to people. I have no idea what persuaded her to perform this act of kindness, but we certainly appreciated her thoughtfulness.

Immediately I thought of this industry. The hot summer temperatures offer unique opportunities to enhance the customer experience no matter what part of the world you work in. Switch shoes with a contractor for a few moments and imagine what it is like to be on a construction site for hours in the sun surrounded by noise and dirt.

What could drivers carry on their trucks to quench thirst? What could sales people bring to construction sites to relieve the discomfort of the working conditions? What would happen if producers sent a “relief” team to different construction sites every day with all kinds of unexpected cooling treats?

There are numerous opportunities to surprise customers in the heat of the summer. The unexpected experience gets noticed and remembered. Gather a cross-functional team to brainstorm the idea of unexpected, surprising customer service ideas, assign a budget and see what happens. Simple ideas — when executed well — can produce amazing results.

Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582 or email