Much has been said about this four-letter word that will cause people to abandon all that is right and holy to secure its promise.
F R E E
People love to get free stuff.
On Tuesday, my husband and I joined a large yet good-humored group at our local IHOP for a complimentary serving of their standard pancakes. FREE pancakes! According to an unnamed authority on celebrations, March 3 is National Pancake Day. For the past 10 years, IHOP has leveraged this occasion to raise funds for philanthropic causes in local neighborhoods. “In return for the free pancakes, guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital or other designated charities.”
For the promise of free pancakes, we –
• Waited roughly 30 minutes in a crowded hallway, standing room only.
• Spent money on side orders, donated to the charity and left a solid tip.
• Walked home as if we had been to a fun, engaging neighborhood party!
And if I’m able, I will do it again on March 3, 2016.
Here are four ways IHOP worked their magic with this free giveaway.
1. THE OFFER CLEARLY STATED LIMITS AND EXPECTATIONS. We waited in line with our eyes wide open. No surprises.
2. THE STAFF WAS ALL IN. Special t-shirts made the staff easy to identify. Our waitress thanked us several times for our patience and generosity toward their fundraising goal. Their enthusiasm made a crowded room feel festive and purposeful.
3. DETAILS. DETAILS. DETAILS. We did not have cash for making a charitable donation. No problem! Any amount could be added to our meal ticket. Preparing for this special day well in advance empowered the staff to address customer needs.
4. THE PRODUCT WAS DELIVERED WITH PRIDE. No short cuts with the short stack!
A FREE pancake offer might have motivated the crowd to show up, but it was Shareworthy Service that turned IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration into an effective $3.5 million dollar fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Delivering Shareworthy Service in your community has transformative power. Let us know if we can help you consider the possibilities.
BONUS: Did you catch Lynn’s wise words on Monday about missed opportunities on your social media channels? Speaking of IHOP, their Facebook posts make me hungry! Here are some of my other favorites for engaging customers – both current ones and prospects.
- Heifer International – Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest
- TOMS – Facebook and Instagram
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Facebook and Twitter
- Lukas Nursery and Butterfly Encounter – Facebook
- 4Rivers Smokehouse – Facebook
- AAA – Facebook
Disclaimer: I receive nothing in return for mentioning these fine businesses. My claim to their fame is a ‘Satisfied Customer’ badge.