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Cowbell Sandy

I recently heard a story about a Paradise Bakery & Café general manager who earned the nickname “Cowbell Sandy” from her adoring staff.

It seems that a couple of years ago she started an incentive program to increase add-on sales of bottled water, cookies, and other high margin items. She worked with vendors to sponsor the prizes, ranging from iTunes gift cards to iPods.

Employees were so enthusiastic about the incentive program that they were constantly asking Sandy to see the printout to determine how they were performing compared to their co-workers. The report was the only way that employees could see who on the team was generating the add-on sales.

That gave Sandy another idea. Instead of tracking the incentive program electronically and then letting people know how they were doing only when the report was printed, she decided to clank a stainless steel container with a metal spoon and hoot and holler just a bit to acknowledge—in the moment—when one of her team members had added sales.

In doing so, Sandy included an element of spontaneous recognition to the incentive program. This not only created additional enthusiasm among the team, it also created a stir with customers in the mall’s food court. All of sudden, customers were coming by to see what all the clanking and laughter was about. This increased store traffic in a competitive environment with plenty of other dining options to choose from.

A couple of weeks into the promotion, the staff got together and bought a cowbell for Sandy to use in place of her makeshift noisemaker. From there, the nickname “Cowbell Sandy” was inevitable.

The program was a huge success! Top producers were adding an average of $11.50 an hour in add-on sales. Team members were receiving constant recognition from an inspiring manager in a high-energy environment filled with enthusiasm—and customers!

How about you? Do you know a “Cowbell Sandy”? Or, maybe you are a “Cowbell Sandy”? If so, feel free to chime in…

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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