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A Lesson from Cold Stone in Customer Experience

I took my wife and son to Cold Stone ice cream last weekend.  We left with a satisfied stomach and a powerful lesson in customer experience.

I was craving their thick, creamy ice cream that night and all I wanted was a “love it” size ice cream.  What flavors, you ask?  Oreo creme filling mixed with chocolate cake batter… and some kit-kat mixed in there.  Don’t judge me.

My wife got an ice cream too, and we just planned to share a few bites with our 18-month old son.

The girl working behind the counter was bright and full of energy, and offered our son a sample of their special Blue Arctic Marshmallow flavor, something they are offering for a limited time (yes, it is the color blue, and yes, it tastes like pure sugar).  It was a nice gesture.

She scooped my ice cream, mixed in the kit-kat, and tossed the ice cream into the air!  Catching it in the cup! That was impressive!  And then, as I was paying, she brought us a mini cup of ice cream for our son, saying “this is on us.”

WOW.

She did it!  She created a WOW experience!  Let’s look at HOW she did that…

How She Created a WOW Experience

First, she was glowing with positive energy.  It made me feel comfortable talking to her.  Ever dealt with someone behind teh counter who you couldn’t wait to stop talking to?  Me too. But this was NOT one of those experiences.

Second, she gave more than we expected.  When she took the liberty of giving my son a sample, I was impressed.

Third, she gave EVEN MORE.  When she tossed my ice cream into the air and caught it, I was EVEN MORE impressed.

Finally, she gave EVEN MORE!!! She offered my son a free cup of ice cream all together, which showed she was paying attention when he devoured the sample he was given.  She knew he liked it, so, without asking, she gave more.  Freely. 

Do you think I gave her a tip?  Oh yeah.  A generous one too.

We can all learn something from the girl at Cold Stone that night.  When you make your customers feel comfortable with you, and you give more than they expect, amazing things can happen.  It’s moments like this that create customer loyalty.  It all goes to show how powerful it is when you focus in on customer experience over price or brand.

Hard to measure customer experience with dollars and cents?  In the short-term, yes.  In the long-term though, companies who make it about the customer experience always win.  


Zac Garside is the marketing and membership manager at Power Coaching.  Zac resides in Logan, UT with his wife and son and loves to talk about marketing, helping people find purpose, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  #FlyEaglesFly