Sursy Your Customers

We just found this new word.  And, we were not even looking for it!  “Sursy!”  Now, before you go look it up, let us give you a small clue.  It is the physical version of a random act of kindness.  It can turn even the most dower countenance into a jovial wide-angle beam.

Chip and his wife, Nancy, rented a rustic cabin in Maggie Valley, NC while visiting a close friend in the hospital nearby.  Arriving at stream-side cabin #3 at Twin Brook Resorts, they unpacked their car.  When the ice chest got its turn, they encountered a sursy!  Sitting in the refrigerator was a fresh “Sock it To Me” cake with a cheery note on top.  “We know you have been traveling and thought this would come in handy.”  It was signed by the owners–Lyndon and Greg.  The Bells were thrilled!

So, now you know.  A sursy is an unexpected gift.  It is a tangible evidence of generosity unassociated with an event that usually warrants a gift—like a birthday or a gift-giving holiday.  It is an old Southern word, but even some forever, die-in-the-wool Southerners have never heard of it.  Regardless of the moniker, it should have an ever-present residence in the manner we serve customers.

A sursy is typically inexpensive, yet worth a ton! Surprising folks with sursys shows them how much you care. One of Susan’s favorite company’s, Corley’s HVAC in Greenville, SC, delivered helium red balloons to customers who were needing service during the week of Valentine’s. During a cold February week, those bright balloons, hand delivered with a smile, warmed the hearts of those who had been without heat!

Imagine your child or grandchild’s delight when you show up with a small toy or stick of gum or, as Susan’s grandchildren love, pink marshmallows.  For no reason…. except that you care.

“Generosity,” wrote Khalil Gibran in The Prophet, “is not you giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is you giving me that which you need more than I do.” Read that line one more time.  It removes all the reciprocity out of gift giving.  And, it fertilizes relationships so they grow and stay healthy.  Lyndon and Greg were not looking for a big tip left in the cabin.  When the Bell’s thanked them for the cake at checkout, the reply was, “We just love doing that!”  It was not “We hope it makes you come back again.”  Of course, they will!

Giving a “sursy” is a lot like “dating” your customer.  Remember what it was like to be new in a special love relationship.  You were always looking for acts of magnanimity to remind the love of your life of his or her importance to you.  You never took that person for granted.  You remembered important days, you celebrated small moments, and you bestowed sursys upon this person—even without know that word.  What if your customers received similar treatment?  Start thinking about what sursy you might want to select for your next customer!

Chip Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and best-selling author.  He can be reached at  Susan Oldham is a professional trainer and consultant.  She can be reached at

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