#5 of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish (Guarantees) – Chapter 16


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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 16, the fifth of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

Standing behind your Product or Service

ll bean guaranteeThe fifth type of Purple Goldfish involves ‘Guarantees’. The little extra commitment that you will stand behind your product or service.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Lifetime Commitment

#800 in the Purple Goldfish Project was submitted by Barry Dalton. He relays a wonderful story about LL Bean:

“My friends recently decided to take up hiking the Appalachian Trail as a hobby. I could probably think of about 3 dozen more leisurely activities to pick up as a “hobby”. But awesome for them!

So, about sixty or seventy miles into their latest trek last week, they were strolling within a few miles of my house and asked to camp for the night for a hot meal and a shower. So, after devouring half the food in the house and getting cleaned up, we all sat down with a bottle of wine to hear some stories.

My friend proceeds to tell me that at a campground, he and a fellow hiker got their Bean Boot laces crossed, whereby the stranger ended up accidentally putting my friends boots into his backpack and hauling off down the trail. My friend, upon later putting his fellow long-departed sojorner’s size 14 boots on his size 9 foot realized the mix up.

He called L.L. Bean from the trail (in our connected world were no place is “out of range”) and told them of his dilemma. The Bean rep told him that he would FedEx a new pair of boots in the right size to my address for next day delivery. In return, they asked him to send the old boots back to them when he got back home.

Oh, did I mention that they treated this like an exchange? Like….he didn’t have to buy the new pair of boots. And get this. The boots they were sending him cost thirty bucks less than the old ratty size 14s he had in his sack. So, Bean sent him a gift card for the thirty bucks! I couldn’t make this stuff up!

We finish the wine (and one or two more bottles, I think), went to sleep. And sure enough, around ten am the next day, the FedEx guy delivered a brand new pair of warm, dry Bean Boots to my door.

So, do you think my friend will buy his next ten pair of boots, and all his other outdoor, Daniel Boone, trail-blazing gear from L.L. Bean for the rest of his hiking days?”

Sometimes ‘NO’ isn’t a bad thing. In fact when it comes to free shipping and guarantees, how about no minimum orders for free shipping and no end date on guarantees. Throw in ‘no conditions’ for lagniappe. Kudos to L.L. Bean.

jansport guarantee

Replace or repair and have fun

JanSport was added to the Project at #835 from a tweet by @markosul:

Just received a notice from JanSport “thanking us” for returning a “vintage” backpack; they are sending us a new 1 free

It’s more than a bag. It’s a JanSport. A guarantee that carries on for the life of the backpack:

Here’s a story from a blogpost by the alaskanlibrarian:

Recently the JanSport backpack I’ve used for a number of years suffered “zipper disease” where it simply wouldn’t stay zipped. I went to the JanSport web site and looked up their lifetime warranty information. It took me a week or so to box up and mail my backpack. JanSport sent me a postcard when they received my backpack.

Last Friday, about a week after the postcard, my backpack arrived in the mail. JanSport replaced my zipper free of charge and shipped it free to Alaska! It works as good as new.

If you need a backpack, buy JanSport. It’s a great product backed by great service. And yes, I’ve bought more than one backpack from them.

Another great customer story. The account by Hillary Lipko at The Frustrated Bunny shows how JanSport goes ‘above and beyond’:

I got my backpack back from JanSport yesterday, and I must say that I am more than impressed with the quality of the repairs. In fact, I’d say that they went well above and beyond the repairs I sent it in for. In the letter that I included with the backpack when I sent it, the only repairs I mentioned were that it needed the main compartment zipper replaced, and I needed the straps replaced. The zipper had contracted the dreaded “zipper disease,” and the foam in the straps had compressed so much that it might as well not have been there anymore. (Provided, these problems had occurred after about eight years of continuous use, which I think is pretty damn good.) Not only did they fix these things well beyond my satisfaction, they also replaced the handle on the top of the bag, the zipper pull that had broken off the front pocket, and the fraying of the fabric on some of the inside seams of the bag. None of those things bothered me, but I am beyond pleased that their repair center apparently takes time to assess the returned bag for everythingthat needs fixing rather than just relying on what the customer tells them.

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaways: Stand behind your product for life. Fix mistakes or issues while keeping the customer informed. Look for ways to deliver above and beyond to exceed expectations. Have fun in the process.

Zane’s guarantees to make you a customer for life

Jeanne Bliss offered up Zane’s Cycles of Branford, CT as #460 in the Purple Goldfish Project. This PG was taken from a speech Jeanne gave at a Net Promoter conference.

Free tune ups and lifetime warranty. Here’s the breakdown from founder Chris Zane:

“Every bicycle purchased from Zane’s Cycles comes with our exclusive ‘Zane’s Cycles Lifetime Free Service and Lifetime Parts Warranty.’ Anytime your bicycle needs service, a full tune-up or just a quick adjustment, we will make those necessary adjustments for free as long as you own your bicycle.”

The guarantee doesn’t just stop there. Zane’s also offers:

90-Day Price Protection. We guarantee you will never overpay at Zane’s Cycles. If you find any item you purchased in stock for less anywhere in Connecticut within 90 days, we’ll gladly refund you the difference plus 10%

30 Day Test Ride. To guarantee you have purchased the correct bicycle, ride it for 30 days. If during that time you are not completely satisfied, please return the bicycle for an exchange. We will gladly give you a full credit toward your new selection.

Serious. Fun. Guaranteed. Twenty Five + years ago we started with the belief, “the only difference between us and our competition is the service that we offer.” If you don’t feel that we are living up to our mission, let us know and we’ll fix it immediately. If you have a concern and would like to discuss it with me directly, please e-mail me. I will personally respond to you.

[Next Up is Chapter 17. ‘Pay it Forward’ – the sixth of the 12 different types of purple goldfish]

ll bean

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Leon Leonwood Bean was an avid hunter and fisherman in Freeport, Maine. During his outdoor activities he noticed that his boots would become soaked. In 1911 the 39 year old Bean set out to solve this problem and developed plans for a waterproof boot. The Bean boot was a combination of lightweight leather for the upper part of the boot and rubber on the bottom. He brought the plans to a cobbler, and the first boots were made. Bean felt the boot produced to be of good quality, and obtained a list of non-resident Maine hunting license holders and prepared a descriptive mail order circular (His first catalogue was a whopping 4 pages). He promised 100% money back for anyone who was unhappy with the boots. Because of this, Bean had to refund 90% of the costs of the first 100 sets of boots made, when the rubber on the bottom developed cracks. Bean seemed not to mind returning the money, and the popularity of the boots was clear.

Here is a two minute video on LL Bean and their 100% guarantee:

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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