The Smile Test: Break Out Of Un-Memorable Customer Experiences
Happiness is coffee marketing magic. Use this simple customer experience test to see if you’re tapping into it.
You know when you visit a new coffee shop or roaster in person, but something doesn’t click?
You’re excited to support a new business and have great coffee, but something’s not right. Everything tastes good, but the magic isn’t quite there. Something’s missing.
The differenece between a memorable in-person experience and a forgettable cafe is tiny.
- It’s not fancy lighting
- It’s not slick packaging
- It’s not even great coffee
It’s the smile.
Often, it’s the smallest details and interactions that are the most memorable for customers.
Sure, I’m a big proponent of finding one big gesture you can use to create a powerful moment for customers, but in an environment as community-oriented as the cafe, nothing beats the smile.
It’s All In The Eyes
When your customer smiles, and I mean really smiles, it’s not just a mouth thing. Their eyes smile too.
You know… 🙂 vs 😊.
See the difference in the eyes?
That’s when you know you’ve struck good experience gold.
Customers who smile authentically have moved beyond “here to get coffee” and have entered the higher realm of “here to be happy”.
And eye-smiling-happiness is marketing magic.
Happy customers share stories. Happy customers leave great reviews. Happy customers get an oxytocin boost that creates an emotional bond between your customers and your baristas.
The Smile Test
This is a simple way to tell if your customers are just here for a quick brew, or if they’re having a special moment too.
It’s based on two questions.
Do your customers get that in-the-eyes-smile?
I’m willing to guess most coffee shops and roasteries don’t inspire that kind of smile. The cashier is trying to get through the line. The barista is too busy slaying it on the espresso machine to look up.
Sure, they’ll smile when you deliver their drink, but it’s really only in the corners of their mouth. That’s the “thanks for coffee” smile, but not the “I’m really appreciating this experience” smile.
If you don’t get that smile in the eyes, you fail (I’ll show you how to pass in a minute).
How long does it take for your customers to smile?
Do your customers walk up to the counter with a stone-cold face? Do they order, sit down, and stare off blankly? Fail.
Ideally, your customers start to eye-smile when they walk in the door and you yell out their name, “Hey Nick!”
Oh, you don’t know their names? Time to get on that. I’ve seen baristas serve 40+ drinks per hour and still have time to acknowledge almost everyone by name. You bet those customers were smiling wide. Why do you think the shop was so busy?
But at the very least, the person at the register has a moment, even if just a few seconds, to look the customer in the eyes, welcome them warmly, and smile big.
Boom! Getting that rich, authentic smile from a customer isn’t hard, but you do have to be intentional about it.
That’s when a trip to get coffee becomes a refreshing, personal, and memorable experience.
That’s the magic.
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
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