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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just give the kid a toy already.

In any child-oriented service experience where the objective is repeat business, the service provider should give their child-customers some tangible evidence of the positive experience.

It doesn’t have to be expensive – just a small token that prolongs the experience by making it tangible once the child is out of context and serving as a memory trigger of a positive experience.

Many companies providing service experiences for children line their walls with merchandise and wouldn’t think of giving anything away. I can almost hear them rationalizing that “It would interfere with their merchandise sales and suboptimize revenue from the retail side of the house.”

Chuck E Cheese gets this concept, as every child leaves with something. Something of nominal value, to be sure, but a reminder doesn’t have to be expensive. Even the dentist hands out a lollypop at the end of a checkup.

Too many companies miss this easy opportunity to create repeat business in young customers. Experiences that have separate service and retail operations (themed restaurants, child hair salons) are the worst. It would take almost nothing in incremental cost to add a memory device to extend the experience and provide a positive reminder.

A child won’t want to come back if they can’t remember how much fun it was to be there in the first place.


Sara said...

I agree! But I think it's not so much to make the kids come back, but making a good impression on the parents. I'm not yet a parent, but I know that any place that didn't treat my kid well - or worse, a kid-centric place that doesn't seem to care for kids - I wouldn't go there again. It's extending the customer experience through the kids to the parents.

(Somewhere in the back of my mind is comment about a parent complaining about their kids screaming for a Happy Meal toy...)

Chris Reaburn said...

You make a very good point.

Delighting the paying parent is every bit as important as delighting the child.

Kids have short enough attention / memory spans as it is, and any service that extends the experience beyond the main interaction stands a much better chance or recall and the inevitable, "Can we go to..." request.

Incidentally, I think the same technique of leaving customers with tangible takeaway reinforcement should be used more with adults as well.

(Turthfully our attention span isn't much better than kids')

Harpreetkaur Sayan said...