Surprise & Delight

Creating Unforgettable Customer Moments 💞

Hi Readers!

It’s been a week! Newsie #10 comes to you from Montclair NJ, from the lovely George Montclair, my favorite boutique hotel. Fun fact: it’s owned by Bobbi Brown–The Bobbi Brown.

I am here in Jersey for part of the week to get some in-person work done. Being remote for the last 5+ years, I’ve learned that while remote work has its benefits (being able to travel often is my favorite), working strictly remotely is not optimal for me. I love remote “flex,” which gives me the ability to work from anywhere while also being able to meet the team once a week or so to get some in-person time. It does wonders for company culture, something I am very passionate about.

This newsie is a final installment of Gorgias-backed newsletters, and so I wanted to focus on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart: Surprise and Delight, aka creating customer moments, aka “the untrackable ROI,” aka every growth hacker’s nightmare.

Special thanks to Gorgias for backing these newsletters. It’s a dream come true to write these, and it means the world to me that they are supporting me in doing this. If you are looking for the best CX helpdesk in the universe (IMHO), be sure to check out Gorgias. All-star team, and equally great technology. Before we kick off, I wanted to share Cody and I's most recent podcast episode with the 🐐 Amanda Goetz of House of Wise. We chatted about:

  • building House of Wise without Facebook ads

  • her 4-day workweek

  • The death of hustle culture 🥵

Now, let’s get into it.

For those that have been following me for a while, you know my spiel around customer moments. The brand-building moments, the moments that make a customer go “oh shit!”

I have had some incredible moments that my team and I created at OLIPOP, and we’ll get into that in a bit, but I’d love to chat about my thought process as I start ideating on this for Jones Road.

Let’s split this into 3 simple sections:

  1. Framework for how to create moments + optimal customers to create moments for

a. Five big ideas from The Power of Moments:

Most of this section comes from one of my favorite books on this subject, The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath. I’d def recommend reading this at some point, but I’ve compiled my TLDR summarized version here:

  • When we recall an experience, we tend to remember the extreme moments— the peaks, the pits, and the transitions—rather than the entire experience

  • A defining moment is a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful.

  • Defining moments are created from one or more of the following elements: (1) Elevation, (2) Insight, (3) Pride, and (4) Connection.

  • If you’re struggling to make a transition in a relationship, create a defining moment that draws a dividing line between Old You and New You.

  • Transitions should be marked, milestones commemorated, and pits filled.

b. Defining moments:

When people assess an experience, they tend to forget or ignore its length—a phenomenon called “duration neglect.” Instead, they rate the experience based on two key moments: (1) the best or worst moment, known as the “peak,” and (2) the ending. Psychologists call this the “peak-end rule.”

In other words, when we assess our experiences, we don’t average our minute-by-minute sensations. Rather, we tend to remember flagship moments: the peaks, the pits, and the transitions.

The thing about great service experiences is that they are mostly forgettable and only rarely remarkable.

Some moments are vastly more meaningful than others.

So, if you are looking to transition a relationship with a customer from an indifferent purchaser to a rabid fan, all you need (lol) is a defining moment—a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful.

c. Filling Pits to Build Peaks:

When creating a memorable customer experience, you first need to fill the pits by alleviating any complaints they may have from their past experience with your brand. That, in turn, frees you up to focus on the second stage: creating the moments that will make the experience “occasionally remarkable.”

Fill pits, then build peaks.

Many business leaders never pivot to that second stage. Instead, having filled the pits in their service, they scramble to pave the potholes—the minor problems and annoyances. A complaint-free service is nice (at least you won’t be hemorrhaging customers), but if you want missionaries out there selling your brand for you, you need to go beyond filling pits and build some peaks through extraordinary customer experiences.

d. Break the Script:

To break the script is to defy people’s expectations of how an experience will unfold.

The other difference between “breaking the script” and generic surprise is that the former forces us to think about the script. To break the script, we’ve first got to understand the script.

A study of hotel reviews on TripAdvisor found that when guests reported experiencing a “delightful surprise,” an astonishing 94% of them expressed an unconditional willingness to recommend the hotel, compared with only 60% of guests who only had a “very satisfying experience.”

Another example: When loyal customers were on a flight with a funny flight safety announcement, they flew one half-flight more over the next year than did similar customers who hadn’t heard one. The analytics group calculated that if Southwest could double the number of customers hearing a funny flight safety announcement, the result would be more than $140 million in revenue. (That’s more than the cost of two 737s!)

Studies are nice, but as we usually do over here, put your customer hat on: Do you rave to your friends about your uneventful order of makeup online? Nah. But if you received a surprise gift from the CX agent you chatted with, how would that make you feel?

How do you break the script consistently enough that it matters—but not so consistently that customers adapt to it? One solution is to introduce a bit of randomness.

E.g., Pret A Manger employees are allowed to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food items to random customers every week.

A great way to break the script in a way that is memorable is to participate in your customers’ life transitions, whether good or bad (celebrating a wedding or mourning a loss).

To summarize: Executives who are leading change should be deliberate about creating peaks that demarcate the shift from the “old way” to the “new way.” Look for life transitions, build peaks, and break the script.

But who should you be creating these moments for? And how can you learn more about a customer from a basic CX ticket?

I love using the Gorgias sidebar to see if a customer is a prime candidate to create a customer moment with. I can see if they have spent lots of money with us, have purchased quite a few orders in a short period of time, where the customer is located, what exact items they have ordered previously, etc to get a better idea of what might be the kind of gift they’d appreciate.

Gorgias has a super deep Shopify integration that gives you all your customer profile data at your fingertips, one of the many reasons Gorgias is my fav CX helpdesk.

Now, let’s talk about some of my fav OLIPOP moments.


2. Some fun and heartwarming customer moments we’ve created at OLIPOP

a. OLIPOP wedding: 🥤🥤

We had a customer that ordered 20 cases of OLIPOP for her wedding. Shipping 20 cases via UPS was pricey and not super practical, so instead, we opted to use a courier service. We didn’t dream it would take multiple tries to get these cases of pop delivered, but Murphy and his law can be a total bitch. 😭

Eventually, after 3 tries, we got these cases delivered, but it had gotten pretty close to the date of the wedding, and there was no doubt that we were the extra unnecessary stressor that nobody wishes for during their wedding week. To compensate, we wanted to do something special for this lovely couple.

Ariel, the CX star, tactfully reached out saying: “You ordered OLIPOP for your wedding, so you must have great taste. I’m engaged and getting married later this year, and looking for wedding registry gift ideas; would you mind sharing a link to your registry?”

We then found a bougie waffle iron on there and ordered it for them as a gift from the OLIPOP team.

Here is the feedback we received:

b. Root Beer in hospice: 😢

One of the most heartwarming stories from my time at OLIPOP was with a customer who had recently lost their mom.

Here’s the story, in 3 parts.

I get emotional every time I repeat this story.

c. Dinner, paid for by your fav soda company:

One of the more fun stories was with a VIP subscription customer who reached out to pause their subscription.

They had mentioned that there was some flooding in their area and they were unable to grab their order. As a team, we huddled and asked a very basic question that I love asking: What would a best friend do for someone in this situation?

We sent the customer dinner, sponsored by their fav soda company.

3. Ideas I am thinking about for JRB

When thinking about how I’d do this at Jones Road, my team and I came up with some of these ideas below.

I’m sharing these just to get your gears spinning on some things you can potentially do with your brand, although some of these particular ideas are definitely unique to JRB.

  • We send a bouquet with a card for someone going through a life transition.

  • We send SuperGoop SPF if a VIP customer mentions she is waiting forever for an SPF (JRB does not have one yet, but we love SG).

  • We send dinner to a VIP customer who is suffering from a natural disaster.

  • Handwritten note or personalized video from Bobbi.

  • We have a ton of customers that ask what Bobbi’s trademark nail color is; we can send them Essie Geranium.

  • Clothing/Jewelry/Accessories from shoots if VIP customers ask “ what brand is that?” (happens more often than you’d think) 😅.

  • Send our recommended bar soap when VIP customers ask how to clean their JRB brushes.

When budgeting for this, I always recommend taking a tiny slice out of the FB ads budget, your growth team will love that. 😏

If you spend $100k a month on Facebook ads, take $1k-$2k for surprise and delight. You’d be shocked what that’ll do for your business. 🔥

For installment two of CX Chronicles, I’m honored to feature one of my fav CX leaders and a friend of mine Michael Bair, SVP of CX at FIGS, a premium scrubs brand with ridiculously soft and technical fabrics that are tailored to perfection.

Two fun facts about FIGS:

  1. FIGS is the first company to go public led by two female cofounders ... with 2020 revenue of $263 million—still just 2% of the total market. Talk about TAM.

  2. My wife is in med school and is OBSESSED with FIGS 🤣

Let’s hop right on in.

What's your philosophy on CX?

My philosophy is three things:

Hire PHDs, embrace change, and feedback is your revenue.

  • On the first, I only hire employees with PHDs. Passionate, hungry, and driven. I want someone who is asking about promotions in the interview. I want someone who cares so deeply that they will push when they don't agree. I want to hire the next manager, director, or someone to replace me. No B players. Only people that you can see getting promoted in 6 months. When you hire great people, they make great decisions, push you to deliver a better customer experience, and make the CX org a feeder to the rest of the org, thereby enhancing your internal brand.

  • On the second, I'm a project manager at heart so I plan, plan, plan. But things go off the rails, so you have to embrace change. CX sits post-purchase so you clean up messes along with celebrating the wins. We empower the team to give us feedback on these changes so that when we make the wrong one, we can adjust.

  • Last, feedback is your revenue. CX teams can make a massive impact on the physical product, the software, or whatever you sell. In the same way that sales teams are maniacal about revenue, you have to be maniacal about understanding, distilling, and distributing customer feedback. That means weekly emails, decks, and presentations.

Your team should be the authority on what customers like and don't like. What drives them to buy or not. As Reid Hoffman says, "We listen to anecdotes, but we make decisions on data.” Take the data and be the customer's voice in your organization.

What's your favorite FIGS CX story?

My favorite FIGS story created our surprise and delight program, FIGSLove. Customers know we'll do almost anything for them.

A few years ago, a doctor wrote in and jokingly asked us a buy a red Ferrari for him. Bold request. But we did it. We mailed him a remote control, red Ferrari to his office. He said that's not what he meant but he thought it was hilarious.

That story started the process of formalizing our FIGSLove program where we send gifts to healthcare professionals every day based on their interactions with associates, their purchase history with FIGS, and so much more. It's one of my favorite things and I think will be a true differentiator for us in the future.

Special discount code: FIRST-FIGS for 15% off your first item.


That’s it for this week! Again, special thanks to our sponsor Gorgias for supporting the newsie, and I look forward to seeing you next week.

One personal favor: can you share this newsie with one industry friend that might love it? 🙏🥺

Before we go, what topics would you like to see me cover in the future? Drop a reply, it means the world. XO,

Eli 💛

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