The Power of a Free Popsicle
Chip and Dan Heath, best-selling authors of books such as Made to Stick and Switch, have published another terrific book. In The Power of Moments, the Heath brothers examine how we can create defining and memorable experiences for our customers, employees, and others. Chip Heath explains that perfection at every step is very difficult to achieve, but we can identify very important moments where our organizations can shine:
“Jan Carlzon [former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines] coined the phrase ‘moments of truth’ and talked about getting right the thousands of touchpoints with customers that happen daily. I don’t think you have to fix thousands of touchpoints. Maybe you want to have one defining moment at the gate and one moment at the luggage reclaim area. Maybe you want to invest in an entertaining flight safety video that people actually enjoy watching, like Virgin America.”
The book features a terrific example. They cite The Magic Castle Hotel, the fourth highest rated hotel on TripAdvisor in Los Angeles, California. The top three hotels are high-priced, luxury hotels. Magic Castle costs only $199 per night. The accommodations are not luxurious. The Heath brothers describe it as, “a converted two-story apartment complex from the 1950s, painted canary yellow … [with] a pool that might qualify as Olympic size, if the Olympics were being held in your backyard.”
What makes customers so delighted to stay at Magic Castle? The hotel has created several powerful defining moments for its customers. These memorable moments demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to its guests, and provide a little unexpected delight for those who stay there. As an example, the Heaths describe the “Popsicle Hotline” at the hotel. If you are relaxing by the pool, you can dial his hotline and request a free popsicle in your favorite flavor. Soon, a hotel employee arrives in white gloves to deliver that popsicle to you on a silver platter. Can you imagine that? It sounds silly, but it certainly provides a small moment of joy for the guests. Many of them go on to tell others about this amazing little experience by the pool. In a world full of brusque customer service and disappointing experiences at restaurants and hotels, this defining moment sticks out.
What the defining moments that you can create for your customers and employees?