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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,


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