#11 of 12 types of Purple Goldfish (Special Needs) – Chapter 22


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[Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts as we work towards completing the manuscript for ‘What’s Your Purple Goldfish?’. Today is Chapter 23, the eleventh of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

The 11th of the 12 types of purple goldfish involves handling ‘special needs’. A little unexpected extra to help your customers who need extra care or attention.

Let’s look at a bunch of examples:

Thoughtful and proactive for a customer in need

#656 in the Project is taken from a post by Ty Sullivan of Cafe Metro

Cafe MetroCafe Metro @cafemetro

“While running one of our contests on a gloomy rainy morning, I noticed one of our followers had posted a picture of herself with the Tweet message saying, “Does this look sad enough?”

Curious, I Tweeted her. “Not doing the contest today? Why so blue?”

Turns out her father had passed away the day before and she was unable to return to home to attend the funeral due to finances. I had remembered that at one point she had Tweeted us questioning why we didn’t carry Honey Nut Cheerios as a cereal selection as is it was her favorite. So I called the store she ordered from regularly and had the manager check her order history to see what she enjoyed ordering on a regular bases.

From there, we created a small gift basket with her favorite lunch and snacks and right in the center, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and delivered it to her that morning.

She was so overwhelmed with gratitude she could not stop talking about us on Twitter and even came by the store to hug our manager.”

Taking care of a loyal customer in need

#364 in the Project was submitted by Jed Langdon from a comment on the post “What’s Your Purple Goldfish?”:

pizza express delivers“Hi Kelly. I promised a Purple Goldfish and here it is, sorry it has taken so long!

My girlfriend’s father is a HUGE Pizza Express fan and I can now understand why. I’m not sure if you have Pizza Express in the US, but in the UK it is a large Pizza restaurant franchise with over 300 restaurants in the UK (it is called Pizza Marzano in some other countries). He visits his local Pizza Express on average about once a fortnight and is on first name terms with a lot of the staff there. When he walks in the chef usually begins to make his favourite dish, but what is even more impressive is that this is a starter that is no longer on the menu. This is a relationship that has been built up over time through him visiting the restaurant and not because he knows any of the staff, which is often the reason for a customer getting this treatment.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend’s father was admitted to hospital (fortunately he is going to be ok) and on hearing about him being in hospital the manager of his local Pizza Express took it upon herself to surprise him with his favourite pizza! She contacted the Pizza Express which was closest to the hospital and asked them to make and deliver the pizza to the hospital, free of charge. This is one of the kindest and most generous acts I have seen from a business, and nobody had expected this sort of thought and effort. Talk about making a customer feel valued, special and delivering service way above and beyond expectations!

Another great post Kelly, keep up the brilliant work!”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Go above and beyond to help a loyal customer in need.

Allergy friendly becomes a differentiator

#690 in the Project was submitted by Sarah Gore of STANCE. Sarah shared an article in the NY Times on Hypoallergenic Hotel Rooms at the Hyatt and Fairmont chains.

hyatt hypo-allergenicHere is an excerpt from the article by Tara Mohn:

Sneeze Free Zone

“Even die-hard road warriors need a comfortable place to recharge after a long day. But for business travelers with allergies, asthma and other sensitivities, hotel rooms can be rife with dust mites, mold, animal dander and other allergens that set off sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches and sleepless nights.

Individual hotels have long accommodated guests by cleaning rooms with special products and processes and washing linens in hot water with no or fragrance-free detergent. They have also offered mattress and pillow protectors, rugless rooms and windows that open.

But now, two hotel chains, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, are taking the service even further by designating permanent allergy-friendly rooms, with things like medical-grade air purifiers and chemical- and fragrance-free bath products.

Thirty-eight percent of hotels offer some kind of allergy-friendly service in guest rooms, a 14 percent increase in the last two years, according to the 2010 Lodging Survey prepared for the American Hotel and Lodging Association by STR, a hotel research company.

Hyatt recently announced plans to create hypoallergenic rooms in all of its full-service hotels in North America. The rooms, which will soon total about 2,000 in 125 properties, cost $20 to $30 extra a night and are intended to eliminate up to 98 percent of allergens and irritants. A medical-grade purifier continuously circulates air, Hyatt said.

“This was a market really underserved,” said Tom Smith, vice president of rooms for Hyatt.

The number of allergy sufferers is believed to have gone up substantially since the late ’70s, said Dr. Darryl Zeldin, senior investigator and acting clinical director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Roughly half of Americans are sensitive to at least one common allergen. Different testing methods may account for some of the increase, but better hygiene resulting in less exposure to bacteria is also thought to play a role, Dr. Zeldin said.

Brian Brault, chief executive of Pure Solutions, the company that installs and maintains Hyatt’s hypoallergenic rooms, said more than 200 hotels nationwide, including properties at several major brands, had Pure Solutions rooms, but Hyatt was the first to offer them across its brands. Some hotel conference centers also use the technology, he said.

Lisa Abbott, a marketing consultant for nonprofit groups in Oakland, Calif., who suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities, has learned the benefits firsthand of good air quality in a hotel room.

At home, she rarely takes the morning rush hour train, to avoid “breathing in a soup of fumes and fragrances” from deodorant, hair products and freshly laundered clothing. Traveling, she said, has “always been dicey.” But she stayed in one of Hyatt’s new rooms on a recent trip to Chicago. “The air is purer,” she said. “I slept great. I felt energized both days of conferences. It has just completely opened up my travel options.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Differentiate yourself by offering that little extra. It doesn’t have to be a ‘throw in’. You can go the extra mile and charge a premium for the added value.

Going above and beyond for those with special dietary issues

#684 in the Purple Goldfish Project is taken from a blogpost by Hank Davis at the Salt and Pepper Group: Rainforest Cafe

“Faye and I are both pretty big fans of having others do the cooking for us. We eat out a lot and we also order in quite a bit. We experience food service customer service on a very personal level. Unfortunately for Faye, her food allergies make dining out a, sometimes, terrible experience. She cannot have anything dairy and she cannot even come close to anything from the onion family. She cannot even have something that has touched a grill that has had an onion on it. This makes things really tough.

rainforest cafeRecently, however, the team at The Rainforest Cafe made it not so tough for her. In fact, they went above and beyond to the point Faye could not wait to get home from her lunch date with a friend to share the great story with me. Here are the 5 things that happened that absolutely blew her away and made her day at The Rainforest Cafe:

At The Rainforest Cafe Faye did not have to volunteer her allergies to the server because the server started off with a great question: “does anybody have any food allergies we should know about?” She did this with a smile and genuine concern for her guests. Typically, Faye has to initiate an awkward and sometimes uncomfortable conversation about her allergies but not at The Rainforest Cafe.

At The Rainforest Cafe her server actually pointed out, with great care and concern, some specific meal options that might match up with her allergies. She made some really good suggestions which, in our experience, is rare.

At The Rainforest Cafe the server brought out a separate menu that covered many of the allergy concerns that many of their guests have. This was great and made Faye feel pretty special.

At The Rainforest Cafe the head chef came out of the kitchen to say hello, introduce himself and see if he could help in any way. He guided Faye through their lunch options, made several specific suggestions and then hand delivered her meal to her after it was prepared. After the meal he came back to check to see how she liked it.

At The Rainforest Cafe the team took it as a challenge to delight and please my better half and that makes me a Raving Fan (shout out to Ken Blanchard) of The Rainforest Cafe. They loved what they were doing and it made us love their company.

The bottom line is this: I am talking positively about The Rainforest Cafe, I am planning on going to The Rainforest Cafe again and I am very thankful to The Rainforest Cafe for making Faye’s Day. When she is happy I am happy and she was definitely happy.

Great work and thank you!”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeway: Concerns like food allergies are no small matter to your customer. Go above and beyond to proactively address concerns and demonstrate you care. Give your customers something to talk, tweet, blog and post to Facebook about.

Adding a personal touch

#685 in the Project was taken from a tweet by @jenniferpbrown: Marriott

“Sherrie at #Marriott is a rockstar. Remembered I was worried abt waking up on time. Called me herself to make sure I was awake. #custserv”

virgin atlantic sweets for landing

Sweetness for the final approach

#780 in the Project was submitted by @sjlz at Engage121

@9INCHmarketing @jackcampisi you guys probably have this #purplegoldfish but the “sweets for landing” at Virgin Atlantic help your ears pop!”

Here’s the Rub: Invest in Your Customers and Watch Your Business Grow

body evolution and massage center#343 in the Project was submitted by Jake Hillman

“My wife, Sabina, owns Body Evolution Massage and Wellness Center. As a massage thereapist, her basic job is to help people relax and feel better. What most people do not expect is her knack for the unexpected: coming in on Sunday’s to accomodate a client’s schedule; sending home remedies to support healing, often at her expense; calling the next day to follow-up and find out how someone is feeling. Her clientele has grown not from common marketing, but from uncommon service, care and connection.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: I like the phrase ‘uncommon marketing’. This type of personal touch beyond the transaction is an investment in your business. It shows you care and spurs customer loyalty.

[Next Up is Chapter 24. ‘Handling Mistakes’ – the twelfth of the 12 different types of purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Some words of wisdom from Virgin’s founder Richard Branson:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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