A Tale Of Two Tip Jars (How To Score Some Extra Bucks.)

Want to know what’s genius?

The 2 tip jars I saw at a coffee house while visiting Boulder last summer. I actually went back a couple of times to watch them work – because these 2 tip jars had it going on.

Here’s the scoop. The Brewing Market had 2 tip jars on the counter – they really had 3, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

But everyday, the 2 main jars on the counter ask a specific question.

: Hot Apple Cider or Eggnog

: Daniel Craig or Sean Connery

: Books or e-Books

: Muffins or Cupcakes

: Scarlett Johansson or Angelina Jolie

So you’re standing there, cash in hand, waiting for your coffee, and you instantly have an opinion.

If you’re with someone, it sparks a discussion. Or you start talking about it with the barista.

And then – you tip.

Because you want your choice to win.

Or because you’ve been talking about it, and it seems ridiculous not to contribute after you just spent 5 minutes defending MAC Cosmetics over Benefit Cosmetics.

: Or Chihuahuas over Bulldogs.

: Or Thin Mints over S’mores.

And THAT is customer engagement in action.

It’s not open-ended, like asking the customer to write down their favorite actor on a dollar bill, then throw it in the tip jar.

The tip jars are designed to do the work for you.

They’re asking you a simple question that you can’t help answering.

(Ok, tell the truth. You just answered all those questions didn’t you? So which is it? Daniel Craig or Sean Connery? Me? My heart will always belong to Sean.)

You feel kind of charmed that the tip jars want your opinion, and you want others to know how much better YOUR choice is over the other option.

Which brings me to Tip Jar Number 3.

It’s called Switzerland.

If you can’t decide between the other 2 tip jars – or you don’t have an opinion about the question – you can throw a buck into Switzerland. Because it’s neutral – get it?

And you know what?

Switzerland usually has just one or two dollars floating around in it – while the others are stuffed full.

I asked the barista how often the ‘no opinion’ people tipped in the Switzerland tip jar.

Can you guess what she told me?

The people who had no opinion almost NEVER tipped.

Now, I’m sure some of those people were just cheap, but on the other hand, Switzerland doesn’t really stir up any emotion. You just get your coffee and wander off.

Switzerland doesn’t need you. But the other 2 tip jars do.

They really, really want your opinion. And you want to give it to them.

AND I LOVE THIS PART: You can even go back the next day and find out which tip jar ‘won’.

The system makes tipping damn near irresistible!

So simple. So genius.


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