What if you could make the ordinary, a little more extraordinary? What if you could be a hero in your customers tale?
Stay tuned for a story of missed destinations, unexpected fairy tales, and a little something extra.
This is the Customer Experience Storytime tale of…. A Dish Bear-ly Served Cold
Robert gazed at Deborah with a stunned look.
“What do you mean there’s nothing available? As in there’s no where to stay?” Robert asked.
“Yes, as in that,” replied Deborah while being lit by the cold blue haze of her computer screen. “Nothing.”
Neither of them could believe there wasn’t a single place to stay: no hotel, camp ground, AirBnB or otherwise within a 350 kilometre radius of their front door had an opening for the long weekend. Not. A. single.
They knew it was their fault. This was a big local holiday, celebrating all the things to do in their local communities. So of course a lot of their fellow travellers would have made calculated, confirmed plans weeks in advance. Apparently all of them did, except for Robert and Deborah.
Plan B. It was to be a Road Trip. The couple, a drive along the coast and music to get them there. If they couldn’t get far out of town, they were going to embrace their proverbial backyard and get to know the destinations around them. There were multiple villages along the water that tourists travelled from far and wide across the world to experience. They certainly could do some travelling of their own.
On the impromptu road trip agenda: exploring, conversing, eating, podcasting, karaoke-ing and more. But their focus rested on their final destination of the day, a beach festival that was home to one of the most impressive exhibitions of sand sculpting this side of North America.
So they got in their vehicle with their sense of adventure, started up the car and headed out, with a full tank of gas, a collection of beef jerky, water and gum and a sandcastle purpose.
Town one? Great food. Cool patio
Town two? A beautiful park. A surprise beach. And handfuls of wild blackberries.
Town three and sand sculptures? Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
After a less than early start to the day and far too long enjoying the appetizer towns on the way to the main meal, they simply ran out of time. There was no way they could get to the sand castle exhibition, enjoy its sandy splendor and drive back to their home in time to get to their evening commitments. It was not going to happen.
Robert and Deborah went through all the stages…
Stage One: Robert’s denial, “We have plenty of time.”
Stage Two: Deborah’s anger, “I can’t believe we spent so much time at that shop?! Dammit!”
Stage Three: Which morphed to bargaining, “Hey if we just increase our speed by about 5km per hour that could give us 15 minutes to see the sculptures.”
Stage Four: Robert expressed his depression, “I can’t believe we’re going to miss the expo. This sucks.”
And finally, Stage Five: their acceptance. “Alright, turn around.”
And so their expected experience came to an end. They turned up the podcast they were listening to and made their way home.
About an hour from their home however, they decided to get off the highway and try to squeeze in one more, one last village visit to add to the trip. It was a small town they had visited before called Chemainus but they hadn’t any expectations due to the late hour they arrived.
As they pulled off to park, they noticed a small wooden bear, about the size of a microwave, poking out from a little walkway. The pathway made its way through two businesses that had already closed for the day, a candy shop and a specialty soap store, and continued on to a hidden little grassy grove which was home yellow barn like building. In it, an ice cream parlour.
Specifically, Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
Robert and Deborah looked out over the small area, they looked at each other and they noted between them, without saying a word, their experience was going to end on a high note after all.
Robert and Deborah walked through the grassed area, filled with multiple bear carvings, varying in the size of a medium sized dog to that of what they would imagine an actual bear size would be, all in different poses.
Some lay out lazily on the railings of a gazebo, others played in the grass or were climbing the side of the yellow barn-like structure of the ice cream stand. Robert’s favourite was one small bear having fun on a rope swing.
When the couple walked up to the ice cream stand, they were greeted by two young staff, both in their late teens. Full of excitement and welcome energy they explained the process of getting a treat at their shoppe.
First you chose your particular size of ice cream cone. From small to too small, just right to too big. With each size came a little extra. It wasn’t one scoop. It was one and a half. It wasn’t two scoops, it was two and a half. Just so you could try another flavor without committing to a full scoop
Then, once deciding and purchasing your cone, you are given a beautiful metal token symbolizing your size. You carry this coin just for a few minutes before presenting it to a staff member scooping your choices of ice cream.
Boston Crème Pie. Nanaimo Bar. Lemon Crunch. The selection is impressive.
Robert and Deborah walk away from the shoppe with their healthy dose of scoops and sat on some patio chairs, surrounded by their new wood bear friends and enjoying this unexpected, delicious experience.
It may not have been world renowned sand sculptures, but it was a moment savoured and immediately something they wanted to share with others.
One missed experience was replaced by a memorable one.
And that ends the tale of…. A Dish Bear-ly Served Cold
Friend Filter aka How is this Perceived by the Customer?
Through the eyes of these customers, let’s look at the emotional impact of this customer experience.
Deborah and Robert had no expectations when they visited Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe. They had already had a full day. One that had gone well but ended with disappointment. But it was the effort of stepping up what could have been a traditional ice cream stand experience that made this stand out.
The little touches and added value to their time there made it feel like it was truly an experience rather than just something they did.
It was memorable and really added to their day, essentially replacing the negative feelings they had for missing the sand sculpture expo.
What Worked or Could Have Been Done Better
From this tale, what’s the one thing your business can take away to better serve your customers.
Lets look at 3 of the touches Baby Bear’s added to improve their customer’s experience.
1) The tokens – beautiful metal tokens symbolizing the kind of cone you get. You only have it in your hand for a little while but I’m sure they have people ask if they can keep them all the time. But it gives you some thing to touch, look at and talk about.
2) Too small, small, just right and too big – That .5 extra ice cream was fantastic. Every scoop you get, also includes a little taste of another flavor. Not a lot, but enough for you to have an added experience that’s beyond the traditional 1, 2 or 3 scoops.
3) Environment – following the baby bear theme, the grove inside is this little park littered with baby bear statues. From hanging off the roofs, to sitting on the reiling in a gazebo to playing on a rope swing, you’re surrounded in the bear-iness of the brand.
Morale of the Story: Try, try and try again.
Take a look at your own business, it’s products or services. Where can you try to stand out, where can you try to add a little to the experience to make it more meaningful. And memorable.
Keep up to date with the latest stories from the customer journey with the CX Storytime Podcast.
You can also find the podcast on Spotify, Overcast or wherever you find your shows.
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