>What’s Unconventional About Your Customer’s Experience?


People will go out of their way to experience something that’s unconventional. Why else would 30,000 people descend on Atlanta clad as Storm Troopers and Starfleet officers for Dragon Con, an event billed as “the largest science fiction and fantasy convention in North America.” Actor Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG1), who was appearing at Dragon Con, said “It’s like Mardi Gras in space.”

You could write it off as a just a gathering of geeks, and there was plenty of that, but Dragon Con is also a clue to delivering memorable customer experiences that keep people coming back. It doesn’t require outfitting your staff with Vulcan ears, sometimes all it takes is a departure from the norm. Something unconventional.

Photo credit: Master Scorpion

T Scott Gross calls it Positively Outrageous Service which he describes as; “surprise, fun, unexpected, not necessary, playful, caring, entertaining, outrageous.” Read those adjectives again. When is the last time you had a retail or service experience described as “surprise, fun, unexpected, not necessary, playful, caring, entertaining, outrageous?”

it doesn’t take much to be unconventional. Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood, Texas serves up some pretty tasty bar-b-que and some mighty fine cobbler. And just like in most cafeterias, they have servers come around to refill your beverage. But here’s where they get unconventional. They also have servers prowling the floor with fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven rolls, hot enough to melt the butter as soon as you slather it on. But wait, there’s more. Another round of servers pull up to your table with a bucket of whip cream! “Whip cream for your cobbler, sir?” I challenge you to say no. Pray that Underwood’s doesn’t open in your town or you will gain an instant five pounds.

Then, there’s Bush’s Chicken, a regional chain of fast-serve chicken restaurants in Texas known for their sweet tea. But also a little unconventional. Pull up to the drive-through and you’ll find that little speaker box missing. There’s no chance to order your chicken the conventional way. Instead, you will see several servers in red shirts running from car to car taking orders. Bush’s treats your car like your table. A server takes your order, runs back inside and assembles it, then brings it back to you without sacrificing too much time.

The retail and service experiences that get remembered, anticipated, and talked about, are the unconventional ones. Do you have a Mardi Gras in Space? What’s your departure from the norm?

For more on creating unconventional experiences, see: The Best of The Customer Experience

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