Workplace Wisdom

Jeni’s Tasty Recipe for Customer Engagement

Visit the original Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams shop in Columbus, Ohio, and its sense of quirkiness and celebration will draw you in right away. It’s a strong case study in hooking and involving customers. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Triggers for anticipation/curiosity/excitement –
    There’s a lot to notice in this party atmosphere: plenty of written words for the verbal, decorations for the visual, and lots of staff to assure you that you’ll be taken care of.
  • Value of naming and terminology –
    The ice cream flavors cry out for attention and tasting. The toppings and sauces sound almost necessary. How can you resist Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate, and Double-Toasted Coconut?
  • Low-risk involvement device –
    The counterpeople are so happy to give you tastes of many more flavors than you would ever order — so you’re already eating ice cream even before you order, and you definitely can see yourself eating lots more of a particular one, two, or three flavors. Not to mention wanting to come back another time for more of what you liked!
  • Protection against perception of loss –
    The potential risk of too much choice is ameliorated by the offers: a small serving is two scoops or flavors, and a medium is three, so you don’t have to give up too many of the possibilities that the naming and tasting have made you want.
  • Extension of personal identity through mass customization –
    There are all kinds of desirable extras to add on, from Donut Gravel to Salty Caramel Sauce to Hand-Whipped Cream, so that you can get the exact taste combination you want, and you can express yourself through your choice of a frozen, decorated dessert.
  • The customer is the star/owner of the process –
    After you’ve structured your elaborate concoction of flavors, “gravel” add-ins, and other toppings, you can name your dessert, photograph it, and submit it for an award for an extra dollop of social proof and personal acclaim.
  • And the ice cream is delicious. I chose Black Coffee and Brown Butter Almond Brittle, two of the signature flavors. And I had a fabulous time. I can’t wait to go back and try something else!

    Can you use the Jeni’s experience as a model to review the value and satisfaction of the experience you’re providing to your customers?

    Onward and upward,

    LK

    Photo credit: Jenis.com

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