Building Peak Moments with Popsicles

I’ve got two stories to share with you today. That’s right, 2!

Story #1

One of the most common stories that my friend AP and I tell is the time we went to an XFL game. AP had bought season tickets and I was the lucky invitee that went to his only game that one, lonely XFL season.

We remember pieces of the game. Blaring loudspeakers, the different rules, the glass beer bottles. Ok, they weren’t glass, but I thought they were and was stunned they would let anyone in the stands have them, especially those with the mentality to have come to watch an XFL game.

But the reason we continuously bring this event up is that it was the coldest day on earth. At least for the two of us. Walking back to the car was the closest I ever came to just giving up on life. I didn’t think I could do it.

Story #2

My friend PC has been going to the Jazz Fest in New Orleans for probably about 20 years. If there is someone that loves Nola more than I do, it’s him. As I was preparing to take a vacation down there a few years ago, I asked him for some suggestions. The first thing he mentioned was the Monteleone Hotel.

The reasoning? The carousel bar.

At this point, it’s the thing he has to do. It’s not so much the uniqueness of the rotating bar anymore as much as it’s become a tradition for him and he wants to share that with you.

Now, why did I just bore you with these two stories? It’s because of this video I came across recently with Dan Heath and the importance of building peaks.


Heath talks about the typical things a company does for its customers. Much of it revolves around fixing problems. The company does things that whelm their customer, as opposed to overwhelming them.

He then talks about how an otherwise average hotel has a surprisingly high rating because they have installed a ‘popsicle hotline.’ Pick up the red poolside phone and get yourself a free popsicle.

With that red phone, they’ve created a peak moment – one that is so memorable that all else is forgotten. That peak moment is what will be talked about forever.

If you have customers in your business, don’t just ask your customers how you can be better. Work on creating that peak moment.

Going back to my stories, I’m not saying that the XFL was able to change the weather to create this peak (or reverse-peak) moment but it’s a story I’ll share for the rest of my life. It’s so memorable that I’ll never forget it just as my friend will always talk about that carousel bar.

* I didn’t get the same thrill out of the carousel bar that PC did but it did lead me to arguably my favorite gumbo, ever. It’s at the Criollo restaurant in the Hotel Monteleone. The Gulf Shrimp & Crawfish with Crisp Fried Okra is a can’t miss.

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