Wraptastic

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It’s Christmas.  You watch a little kid excitedly open a present from you.  You put a lot of thought into it, and can’t wait to see the look on their face as…and the kid is playing with the box as the actual gift lies on the floor.

Does this ever really leave us?  Think about the last time someone gave you a gift that wasn’t wrapped.  It’s nice.  Who doesn’t like getting things?  Gifts are great.  Now, think about the last time someone gave you a wrapped gift.  Whole different ball game.  Now there’s mystery.  There’s suspense, and a heightened sense of expectation.  Because people don’t just wrap anything.  Gifts get wrapped if they’re really special, or on a special occasion.  The wrapping, and the joy of unwrapping, can add significant significance.

Certain gadget companies have this idea nailed.  Opening up a box made from heavy duty materials with a matte finish and embossed letters sets the expectation that what’s inside is important.  Because only important things get the time, money, and attention, to get packaged in a fancy way.  Like jewelry. 

At least that’s the way I see it.  If you don’t agree, think about the last time you opened something that was wrapped in what felt like cellophane, and sitting in a form-fit piece of plastic that crinkled too loudly for comfort.  Was it something fancy or high-quality?  Probably not.  Even if it was, you probably don’t even think of it like that.

So set the expectation that what’s inside the box is worth wrapping.  Take the time to package your products with well-made materials.  Make your customer want to play with the box.

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It’s Christmas.  You watch a little kid excitedly open a present from you.  You put a lot of thought into it, and can’t wait to see the look on their face as…and the kid is playing with the box as the actual gift lies on the floor.

Does this ever really leave us?  Think about the last time someone gave you a gift that wasn’t wrapped.  It’s nice.  Who doesn’t like getting things?  Gifts are great.  Now, think about the last time someone gave you a wrapped gift.  Whole different ball game.  Now there’s mystery.  There’s suspense, and a heightened sense of expectation.  Because people don’t just wrap anything.  Gifts get wrapped if they’re really special, or on a special occasion.  The wrapping, and the joy of unwrapping, can add significant significance.

Certain gadget companies have this idea nailed.  Opening up a box made from heavy duty materials with a matte finish and embossed letters sets the expectation that what’s inside is important.  Because only important things get the time, money, and attention, to get packaged in a fancy way.  Like jewelry. 

At least that’s the way I see it.  If you don’t agree, think about the last time you opened something that was wrapped in what felt like cellophane, and sitting in a form-fit piece of plastic that crinkled too loudly for comfort.  Was it something fancy or high-quality?  Probably not.  Even if it was, you probably don’t even think of it like that.

So set the expectation that what’s inside the box is worth wrapping.  Take the time to package your products with well-made materials.  Make your customer want to play with the box.

Movie Dessert

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My wife told me that her dad used to make their family watch through all the credits at the end of movies because there were a lot of people who worked hard to make the movie happen, and they deserved to be acknowledged.  I also occasionally watch through to the end of the credits, but for a different reason.

Bonus footage.

Some movies, especially those in, or at the beginning of a series, will have a little end of the movie dessert for you, if you’re willing to sit and wait a few extra minutes wondering what a Dolly Grip does.  If you’re like me, at the end of a really great movie, it’s sometimes kind of sad that it’s over.  Sure, I enjoyed it, and I’ll walk out of the theater pleased.  But if after the credits there’s a teaser for a possible sequel, that’s a game changer.  Then I walk out of the theater excited.

Because there’s a promise of something more. 

They’re saying, “We’re not done yet.  Wait until you see what’s next.”  They’ve planted a seed, so that in a year or two when you see the first trailer for the sequel, you think, “Oh yeah!  I’ve been waiting for this!”

This may be a bit tricky to work into a business if it’s not actually making movies, but the idea can still translate.  Give your customer everything that should be included anyway, but give them something extra to leave them hanging.  Hook them into coming back. 

Better yet, hook them into wanting to come back.

Anti-ding

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Growing up, my dad was always adamant about parking on the far side of any parking lot.  Walk an extra minute, and avoid door dings.  One time when I was in high school, I was running late and I parked close to the school.  Too close.  Right between two other cars (gasp!).  At the end of the day, I realized my mistake, took a look around the car, and sure enough…ding.  Driver’s side front door.  As I got home and pulled into the driveway, my dad was outside, on the right side of the car.  As soon as I parked, he walked right around to the driver’s door, and honed in on the little teensie tiny knick in the paint.  It was like he could smell it as I drove up.

To this day, I feel awkward and uncomfortable parking next to another car.  That’s why it’s always such a nice relief when going into a parking lot with the parking space buffers.  I’ve seen them at Costco and Cub, and a few other places.  They make it so much nicer and easier.  I can park as close as I want and not break a nervous sweat as I walk away.

Sure, the extra space per spot might cost you some parking spaces in the lot, but how often does the whole parking lot get used at a big store?  A few times a year?  (And if it does get filled, it may give your business a bit of an exclusive feel to it.)  It’s a great technique, sacrifice quantity of customers for the quality per customer.  Show that you care about each person coming to give you money, instead of trying to cram in as many as possible.  At the very least, you’ll make my dad a happy customer.

Sticky jokes

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Why do firemen wear red suspenders?  To keep their pants up.

What do you call a pig who knows karate?  Pork chop.

What did one hat say to the other?  You stay here, I’ll go on ahead!

I recently decided that my workplace is too boring.  So I did what anyone with a sense of humor as advanced as mine would have done.  I started telling dumb jokes.  

A large part of my job is creating detailed lists of instructions on how to repair broken high-tech products.  Usually I write up the instructions, print them off with all the accompanying paperwork, staple it up real nice, and bring the broken product and it’s new paperwork bundle out to the repair station where some really awesome folks fix it up.  So to unborify our environment, I started to hide sticky notes with dumb jokes at random places within the paperwork.  The cool part is, it doesn’t really matter too much if the jokes aren’t funny (even though I think they’re hilarious).  I think what matters is the added variety, the little splash of color, and eventually, the positive expectation people will have when they see more work coming their way.  Hopefully, they’ll see the broken unit and its paperwork coming from me, and instead of focusing on the work ahead of them, they’ll be wondering what today’s silly one-liner will be.  Then they’ll start to associate positivity with their work

So again, showing that you care even a little bit extra can make a significant difference, so it doesn’t matter if the jokes flop.  And if they flop, it’s not my fault they’re not as hilarious as I am.

Money Shouldn’t Cost Money

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It’s the weekend.  You’re heading out for the night.  Oh yeah, that place has a cover charge, so you need some cash.  You make a quick stop at the ATM.  Bam!  You’re hit with a $2.50 ATM fee.  You have to pay money, to get your own…money.  And yes, the reason makes sense.  The fee is to cover the surcharge, which goes to the ATM owner, and the transaction fee covers the out-of-network costs.  And it’s pretty sneaky.  $2.50 seems pretty small compared to the amount you’re probably taking out anyway, but they add up over time and they get annoying as crap.

 

And so, when we go to a rare place with no ATM fee, we rejoice!  We feel like we beat the system, and came out ahead in the deal (despite the fact that we’re probably going to go spend a bunch of money anyway).  And the place that covers the fee for you seems like a benevolent business, looking out for the interests of the customers. 

 

So if your business has an ATM, strongly consider covering the fee (if you can, I’m not sure how that exactly works and I’m too lazy right now to do my research…).  Your customers are probably going to spend money on at your business anyway.  No fee means they’re going to feel more comfortable about taking out more cash to spend.

 

Oh, and ATM stands for “Automatic Teller Machine.”  So you don’t need to call it an “ATM machine.”  It’s redundant and annoying…

A Handful of Fire

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Taco Bell… A magical place of late night bad decisions, and early morning regrets.  A place that offers sodium-filled sustenance and spikes in blood pressure.  Oh, Taco Bell, I both love, and hate you.

I used to order the same thing at Taco Bell all the time.  But over the last few years, I’ve changed it up here and there to add some…um…variety…basically different combinations of tortilla, meat(?), and salt.  But there’s always been a constant.  I always ask for a handful of Fire sauces.  

Because asking for a couple is not nearly enough.  I put several packets on a single taco.  But I always felt weird asking for like, ten.  So I came up with a brilliant solution.  Ask for a handful.  Then I leave it up to the stellar TB crew to determine my level of sweet indigestion for the evening.  Occasionally, it doesn’t pan out so well.  Either the drive through worker has had small hands (I thought I smelled cabbage…) or they were feeling stingy, but I’ll get like four.  Lame.  

But, sometimes, I get the guy with catcher mitt hands and I get a few dozen.  Awesome. If I’m done eating, and there are packets left over, that’s the sign of a good night.  I can’t imagine that those packets cost a lot, so this is an easy technique of providing overwhelming quantity as a way to compensate for not-so-overwhelming quality.  So don’t be afraid to give your customers double handfuls to overload their senses, and burn (get it? Fire Sauce?) an experience into their memories.