VeggieDelight does a little extra to make a first and last impression

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This is a story about the importance of first and last impressions with new customers.

Delight ConferenceLast week, I had the opportunity to connect last week with Cynthia Hofmann in Portland, OR. I was in town to speak at the Delight Conference hosted by ISITE Design [Awesome event – click here for a Storify recap]

She told me about a recent experience at Veggie Grill. For those not familiar with Veggie Grill, it’s a chain of 20+ vegetarian restaurants based in Santa Monica, CA. They are expanding like gangbusters and currently have the majority of their storefronts in California, Oregon and Washington.

Veggie Delight storefront


Cynthia recounted her first trip to the quick serve restaurant. Upon walking up to the register to order, the server asked Cynthia if this was her first time to Veggie Grill. It was. The helpful server then proceeded to answer questions and take her order. After paying, Cynthia was handed a number and was told her food would be delivered to her table. An astute marketer, Cynthia noticed there were two different colors of numbers. Some were green and some were red. Hmmm…

A little something extra

A few minutes later her tasty and healthy meal was delivered. Upon finishing her meal, the same server came back to her table. He asked how the meal was and then thanked Cynthia for her patronage. The server then presented a complimentary dessert. Cynthia graciously accepted and enjoyed her unexpected treat.

Primacy & Recency

As consumers, we tend to remember the first thing we experience and the last thing we experience. This is one of the main reasons that first / last impressions are one of the 12 types of Purple Goldfish. Veggie Delight leverages the power of greeting and gifting. Smart move as a previous study showed that a mere greeting and gifting can increase average purchase by over 40%. The Veggie Delight server greets the customer asking if they they’ve been before. The restaurant then provides additional help with the ordering process, perhaps making suggestions or pointing out menu options. The cashier then provides a certain color number (see red above for newbies). This indicates to the server to return to the table with the complimentary dessert. A simple, yet powerfully effective system of delight.

Wanna be memorable? Leverage the Power of Surprise

One of highlights from the Delight Conference was the presentation of Aarron Walter. Aarron is Director of UX for MailChimp and the author of Designing for Emotion. Aarron referenced the importance of emotion when designing memorable experience. He cited the work of Dr. Medina and his book, Brain Rules:

Aarron Walter at Delight


Medina posits that our brain sends out dopamine when we are faced with an emotionally charged event. The dopamine helps things stick, aiding in memory of the experience. As consumers, we don’t remember entire events. We remember moments, especially those vital first and last experiences.

Purple Godlfish Takeaway: Create simple systems to leverage emotion with first and last impressions, especially for new customers.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – The entire concept of the Purple Goldfish involves doing the little extras. The benefits of doing so are: 1. Differentiation, Retention and Word of Mouth.

Giving little extras triggers the concept of reciprocity. In this video, Dr. Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin talk about the power of reciprocity and five other factors that impact influence:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.

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