hold the cone
brand-as-business bit: Hold the cone! No, I don’t mean “hold the phone.” I’m saying “hold the cone” because that’s what ice cream shop workers should do. Allow me to explain:
Recently while in the Virgin America terminal at SFO, I decided to treat myself to some Pinkberry. After preparing my cone of yogurt yumminess, the server rang up my order, swiped my credit card, and handed me the receipt, all while holding the cone for me. Of course those tasks are easier to do with two hands and doing them with one was clearly awkward for her – but here’s the thing: It would have been me struggling with the cone if she had handed it to me before I got my credit card out of my wallet, put it and the receipt back in, and put my wallet back in my bag. So she held it for me and waited until I was ready to take it.
Contrast that to the check-out clerk who recently dumped a pile of bills and change into my hand at once and expected me to immediately move out of the way for the next customer – and the restaurant hostess who handed over a large, heavy take-out order and watched me struggle out the door and into my car – and the fast food order taker who made me repeat the last two items of my order because on the first one I didn’t specify what size combo meal I wanted.
Yes, these are small details that aren’t high on the list of customer experience impressions, but they speak volumes about the service philosophy of the brand. Are the employees trained to put customers’ needs first? Are service procedures in place to take the hassles out of the experience? Does the company design its customer experience down to the last detail? Great brands know that every detail communicates — every touchpoint matters.