I got another stamp on my coffee shop loyalty card yesterday.

As I took it from my wallet, I momentarily brought out the wrong one and I compared the two cards.

imageOne had nine boxes when I got it: the other had ten.� Both schemes work the same way: Collect a stamp with each tea, coffee or juice, and when the card is full, trade it in for a free drink.

One card had ten stamps to collect and the other had only nine�

Until I looked carefully, because then I noticed a difference � which makes a big difference to the psychology.

.

imageOn the card with ten boxes, the first box was pre-stamped.� So, when I got my first paid stamp, I already had 2 out of 10 � or one fifth of the stamps.� With the other, when I first got a stamp, I had one out of nine � a far smaller proportion.

With both cards, one paid stamp leaves eight to get and two paid stamps leaves seven�� But the second card is the more effective.

Advice for Coffee Shops � How to make this more effective

It is tempting to say �have twelve boxed with three pre-stamped�.� The proportions are even better � your fisrt paid stamp takes you to one third collected.� But take this too far � and you�d need research to know how far is too far � and people will see through the ruse, negating its value.

� but this will work

Rather than have the first space pre-stamped, leave it blank, but instruct the baristas or waiting staff to �do you a favour when you get your first stamp: �I�ll tell you what � I�ll give you an extra stamp because you smiled at me�.� Not only will this personal approach trump the pre-printed stamp, but it will probably earn your staff a bigger tip too!

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