It’s the little things that count

The Situation: I stopped by my favorite little coffee shop this morning for a cup of coffee and received a little surprise. Typically I stop by on my way to work, but today I am on vacation, so I took our little puppy, Charlie, with me. As soon as I pulled up to the drive up window, the gal at the window offered Charlie a Milkbone. As we all know, and I will attest to this personally, people are extremely attached to their pets.

What Beans and Brews is doing is rather simple, but it pays big dividends. By investing $7 in a box of milkbones and empowering their team to hand them out, they are creating an emotional attachment between themselves and their customers. But they don’t just stop there. The gal at the window took it to a higher level by talking to me about Charlie. “What’s his name?” “What kind of dog is he?” “His little face is so cute!” Any store can offer Milkbones, but this final part, the conversation, is where the game is won or lost.

Here’s Charlie, our amazing little Shih Tsu

The Payoff: Consider for a moment what that $7 investment gets Beans and Brews. They have a whole bunch of happy customers who will be much more likely to return to that store (even though there’s a Starbucks less than a block away. Those same customers are going to become a valuable marketing resource for the company via word of mouth (free marketing). As we are all aware, consumers feel that word of mouth is the most reliable source about goods and services. I think the box of Milkbones was a great investment.

Other “little things that count”:

  • Starbuck’s Coffee asks their customers for feedback and ideas on their “mystarbucksideas” site. (read more)
  • Every year I receive a birthday card from Jeffery, the Toy’s “R Us mascot (even though I am 36 years old).
  • Zappo’s offers free shipping on all orders for 365 days.
  • Southwest Airlines lets their stewardesses have a little fun while making announcements.
  • In and Out Burger has their “secret” menu.

What are your “little things” that help you and your business make an emotional connection with your guests?


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