#8 of the 12 types of Purple Goldfish (Added Service) – Chapter 19


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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 19, the eighth of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

The 8th of the 12 types of purple goldfish is an ‘added service’. A little unexpected extra service that exceeds the expectations of your customers.

Let’s look at a bunch of examples:

Complimentary toner vacuuming

cartridge worldDevelop a service that’s convenient, good for the environment and saves you money. Then deliver it with a couple purple goldfish. That’s the order of the day for the folks at Cartridge World.

Here is #249 in the Purple Goldfish Project submitted by EJ Kritz:

Cartridge World

“To begin, we’re in the business of refilling and remanufacturing printer cartridges. We offer a free delivery service to our business customers during which time plenty of things can happen opening the door for added value.

For example, if we’re delivering a cartridge for a laser printer but the businesses fax machine is on the fritz, it’s only natural and fitting that we’ll do anything we can to help get their fax back up and running. Similarly, many of our franchises keep a “toner vac” in their delivery vehicle. This vacuum is specially designed to handle the fine particles in toner. It’s a HUGE benefit to our customers (as silly and small as it sounds) to bring in the toner vac for a complimentary cleaning of their laser printer before we put in their new cartridge. This service is the printer equivalent of getting a free car wash each time you get a tank of gas… it doesn’t help your car run better but it sure does make you feel good.

The last example is something almost universal regardless of which Cartridge World franchise you visit. It’s quite simple actually. Each and every business delivery comes complete with a Tootsie Pop. You see, purchasing our product is all about saving money. However, typically the person saving the money (the business owner) is not the same person taking the delivery (the office manager). This little token makes everyone smile in the middle of a busy day! In fact, many of our owners could even tell you the favorite flavor of pop for each of their top customers. Simple, and yes, sweet.”

Recommending a competitor

#397 in the Purple Goldfish Project courtesy of Joe Gascoigne, Co-Founder of OnePage

zappos powered by service

CSR’s will recommend up to 3 competitors

“As for an example, one that springs to mind is that if you try to order shoes from Zappos and they do not have the shoes you want in stock, they will actually recommend a nearby store that does. It seems counter-intuitive, but I think it really builds trust and it obviously works well for them.”

According to an interview with CEO Tony Hsieh in Chief Marketer, he refuses to see customer service as an expense. Rather, it’s an investment,

“Our business is based on repeat customers and word of mouth. There’s a lot of value in building up our brand name and what it stands for. We view the money that we spend on customer service as marketing money that improves our brand.”

Here is another great example from an article in Footwear News:

According to Jerry Tidmore, who manages Zappos’ help-desk concierge service, “One of the craziest stories was that of a customer who checked in to the Mandalay Bay hotel [in nearby Las Vegas] and forgot her shoes.” According to Tidmore, the guest called Zappos, where she had originally purchased the style, looking for a replacement, but they didn’t have any in stock. So the company found a pair in the right size at the mall, bought them and delivered them to the hotel — all for free.

Just don’t exceed expectations . . . obliterate them

Zappos grabs the #493 spot in the Purple Goldfish Project. This example was taken from Peter Osbourne’s blog ‘Bulldog Simplicity’:

“My son lost one of his dress shoes at school the other day. Don’t ask. I don’t know how you lose one shoe.

zappos delivers wowSo last night (Tuesday) he and his mother went to the store where he bought them. Nothing in his size. They get home and for a variety of reasons they don’t get online until about 10 p.m. They find the shoes and my wife calls Zappos to confirm that we’ll get the shoes by Thursday with one-day shipping. I’m not clear on the rest of the conversation, but Zappos waives the overnight delivery charges. No reason given, but it sounded like it was because we were first-time buyers.

It’s like Tony Hsieh was sitting outside the house when we ordered Tyler’s shoes.

So we get up this morning to find an e-mail with a tracking number. The doorbell rings at 9 a.m. It’s the UPS guy with the shoes. That’s right. Eleven hours after ordering the shoes, we had them. The customer survey arrived shortly after delivery, and guess how my wife filled out the score. She’s now a customer for life.

Zappos has gotten a lot of great press in recent months and was purchased in July by Amazon, which says it’s leaving management in place after the sale closes. Smart man, that Jeff Bezos.

As a first-time buyer, Zappos didn’t just exceed our expectations. They obliterated them. And that leaves me with two questions for you, regardless of whether you’re a retailer, a consultant, or a person within a large company…

When was the last time you obliterated a customer or client’s expectations?

How can you “Zappos” someone’s expectations the next time you deal with them?”

NOTE: Zappos locates their own distribution center next to UPS in Kentucky. They staff the center 24/7/365 which guarantees orders get picked and shipped right away.

Zappos Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Recommending competitors when you don’t have the product, hand delivering a pair of shoes and upgrading to overnight shipping . . . Zappos is a pioneer in ways to proactively add service. Fitting for a shoe company powered by service or more appropriately according to Hsieh, ‘a customer service company who sells shoes’.

Splitting sizes, not hairs helps Nordstrom deliver

nordstrom logoIt starts with employees. Nordstrom only has one rule . . .

‘Use good judgment in all situations’

It has only one goal . . .

‘To provide outstanding customer service’

#667 in the Project is taken from a blog post by Ron Kaufman at ‘Up Your Service’

“A sales clerk at Nordstrom in the United States sold my friend a new pair of shoes. Measuring his feet, the clerk discovered my friend’s right foot was size 9.5 and the left foot was a smaller 9.0. The clerk gave my friend the shoes he needed to achieve a perfect fit: one 9.5 and the other 9.0. I have no idea what the clerk did with the remaining mismatched shoes, but my friend’s loyalty to Nordstrom has been secured. Talk about going above and beyond to improve customer satisfaction!”

I’ve also experienced this signature lagniappe. Back in 1996 I bought a pair of Doc Martens at Nordstroms in Portland. I distinctly remember it was the first time I spend $100+ of my own dollars on a pair of shoes. Doc’s doesn’t make half sizes and I couldn’t get the right fit between a size 11 and a size 12. My feet are about a 1/2 size apart. The salesperson offered to split the pairs. One word: SOLD.

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Do the unexpected little extra to satisfy your customers. Splitting sizes speaks volumes about Nordstrom’s beginnings as a shoe store and its commitment to the customer experience.

This one leaves no fingerprints or dust

#706 in the Project is submitted via e-mail by Lee Silverstein:

“As I wrote about in my blog post “Adding Value Doesn’t Have To Cost A Nickel” After replacing your damaged windshield, Safelite Auto Glass cleans ALL of your windows and vacuums the interior of your car. Love your site!”

Here is Lee’s post:

Adding Value Doesn’t Have To Cost A Nickel

safelite repair“A fellow who does things that count, doesn’t usually stop to count them.” ~Variation of a saying by Albert Einstein

How do you differentiate “good” service from “great” service? You know it when you experience it, but sometimes it’s difficult to verbalize. I like to explain the difference as “great” service is the type of service that you would tell others about.

You could walk into a store and be cheerfully greeted, but it’s unlikely that over dinner that evening you would tell your family about the friendly greeting you received while shopping earlier in the day. Now if that same associate had offered to gift-wrap your purchase and then carried it out to your car for you, then that would be an experience worth sharing. So how do companies, and their employees, take the steps to “make a difference”? By adding value.

Making it standard practice to call other locations to find an out-of-stock item adds value to a customer’s experience. The car dealer that washes your car when you bring it in for service also adds value. And here’s the good news for these businesses: doing these “little things” costs next to nothing!

While driving the other day, a pebble hit my windshield, leaving a small crack. I contacted my insurance company, Progressive, and they offered to book an appointment for me to have the windshield replaced the following morning; I was very impressed. As promised, my phone rang shortly after 8 am. It was Rich, from Safelite AutoGlass telling me he was on his way to my home to replace my windshield. After only 45 minutes he called me and asked me to meet him outside; he was finished and needed my signature. I walked outside to find him cleaning not just my windshield, but all of my windows! Not only that, but he informed me that he vacuumed the exterior of my car as well. By investing 10 extra minutes to vacuum my car and clean my windows, Rich took a good experience and made it a great one. And what did this cost Safelite? Ten minutes of an employees time; a good investment.

I make it a habit to avoid fast-food restaurants, but occasionally my stomach overrules my brain and my craving for a burger and fries from Five Guys has to be satisfied. If you’ve been fortunate enough to try those amazing fries you know that Five Guys gives you that little “extra”. After they place your order of fries in your bag, they take one extra scoop of fries and dump them in the bag. In addition to adding inches to my waistline they too are adding “value” to the experience.

What are some other ways an employee can add value to their customer’s experience? Here are just a few:

  • Remember your customer’s names. My dry cleaner can do it so can you!
  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Deliver your service/ item exactly when you say you will.
  • Return the phone call!
  • Carry the package out to the car.
  • Send a birthday card to your customer.

There are many ways to add value to a customer’s experience. It requires a bit of thought and creativity, but doesn’t require much money or time.

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: The little unexpected extra or added service is always appreciated.

A personal touch from Lacoste makes all the difference

lacoste-polo-shirt#673 in the Purple Goldfish Project was submitted via e-mail by Jim Joseph, author of ‘The Experience Effect’. Jim talks about an experience with Lacoste:

“I submit to you a great example of amazing customer service that transformed a brand in my mind … the ultimate purple goldfish.

Last summer I was visiting Palm Beach with my son. Just looking to get a little R&R. Some friends who live nearby invited us out for dinner one night, which was great, but I hadn’t really packed anything appropriate for my fourteen year old son to wear.

So we went shopping in town, and of course he didn’t find anything that he liked .. I figured that I would just make due, and we went back to the pool.

While we were sitting there he remembered a Lacoste shirt that he thought would be perfect. I was thrilled because he rarely cares how he looks and we were going to be visiting friends.

We didn’t have a car so we needed to take the hotel shuttle downtown, but I was afraid that we would get there too late. So I called the store only to find out that they were in fact closing for the day.

I guess the person on the other end of the phone could hear the disappointment in my voice, and she asked me what was wrong.

Half way through my explanation, she interrupted me to ask me where we were staying. She offered to bring the shirt to us!

So I told her the size and color, which they had in stock, and in fact thirty minutes later she personally pulled up to the hotel to hand deliver the shirt.

That was a wow. Totally made my night, and completely changed my perceptions of the brand. I am now a loyal consumer time and time again, especially for gift giving occasions. Maybe because every time I think of the brand I smile!

Clearly, the brand knows the importance of customer service in the total experience and has made sure that they deliver on it at the store level. A true purple goldfish!”

Fast, Casual and now High Touch

#581 floats into the Project courtesy of my beautiful wife Jennifer Phelps. In Jenn’s words:

boston marketBoston Market

“Boston Market gives kids balloons (which is nice). They also handcarry your tray to your table which is helpful.”

Boston Market turned 25 this year. It looks like they are revamping both their offerings and service model. According to seriouseats.com,

“Boston Market is giving its restaurants something of a makeover. 370 of their nearly 500 locations will be revamped by the end of 2010, with the stores in the Miami and New York markets leading the charge. Some of the changes are small, some are large. The side orders in the “Hot Case” will be cooked in smaller pots, so the food is prepared more frequently, and less is wasted. They are increasing staff, and will have employees escorting customers to their tables, as well as bussing the tables after they’re finished. Finally, and most interestingly, Boston Market is introducing real plates and silverware for dine-in guests—bringing the experience away from the traditional tray-to-table fast-food model.”

The renovations can be summed up by Tony Buford, Senior Vice President – Operations,

“We are proud of our new offering but it’s more than just paint, pots and poultry – it’s the people. The people are the heart and soul of the company, and what makes Boston Market America’s kitchen table.”

Kudos to Boston Market for raising their game and focusing on customer experience.

Porter Airlines flies into the Purple Goldfish Project

porter airlines#300 in the Purple Goldfish Project submitted by Brian Millman:

“I wanted to send through a Purple Goldfish to help in your quest for 1,001. I’m not sure if you have heard of Porter Airlines, but it is a short-haul airline which flies out of Toronto’s city centre airport (very cute and small airport) and focuses on business travelers. It started primarily operating in Canada with one US route to Newark but has expanded to fly to Boston, Chicago and Myrtle Beach.

With most airlines, you expect to sit in the typical terminal with old rows of seats. At Porter’s hub, they offer a VIP lounge for everyone. The terminal area is set up similar to that of any VIP lounge: a kitchen stocked filled with FREE soda and water, two cappuccino machines, and free snacks (Cookies & chips). Porter also offers FREE Wi-Fi with a power port under every seat as well as 14 computers for those without a laptop.

ALSO- not sure if I have gotten lucky, but supposedly there is an $100 change fee for jumping on an earlier flight… but I haven’t been charged for it once.”

Who is this Gary character?

wine library garyveeI went to see Gary Vaynerchuk speak at a MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) NJ Chapter event in Morristown, NJ. @Garyvee was awesome in his typical ‘no holds barred’ fashion. I came in with high expectations and he exceeded them.

He shared a recent example from his company WineLibrary.com. He recounted that a recent order was screwed up via FedEx, not WineLibrary’s fault but that didn’t matter to the customer. A Wine Library staffer drove the shipment down south 3 hours to the Jersey Shore and hand delivered it to the customer.

THE RESULT: That customer immediately reached out to his network over 3 or 4 tweets to laud WineLibrary.com and recommend them ‘hands down’ over the competition.

[Note: Gary eluded that there might be some other ‘branded acts of kindness’ coming down the proverbial (NJ) turnpike. He talked about the next major snow storm for Jersey and the possibility of shoveling the driveways of his best customers. Imagine yourself as a customer and Gary shows up at your doorstep, shovel in hand. That’s a purple goldfish I’d like to see]

This Purple Goldfish is easy to write up

#401 in the Project comes from Peter Hurley, President of Synergy Events.

salute nyc“Had lunch today at Salute in New York City (270 Madison Ave). Nice upscale restaurant that caters to a business crowd. Upon sitting at the table I noticed a purple goldfish. Each table came with a tiny notepad similar to those you would get at a conference or hotel. It was for notes if needed during lunch. The small pad was branded with Salute’s marks and contact info. A nice little keepsake compliments of the restaurant.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Embrace the purpose of your clientele. If they are dining to conduct business, figure out ways like a little notepad to grease the wheels of commerce.

horizon beer and wine

It’s always 5 o’clock on Horizon Air

Horizon Air (#78 on The Purple Goldfish Project submitted by Marcia Hoover) “The best one I can think of is Horizon Air – the regional affiliate for Alaska Airlines. They have always served free beer and wine to all passengers on their flights. Given today’s economy and stifling service in the airline industry Horizon definitely stands out as a marketing lagniappe.” [FREE BEER – YEAH!]

What’s Your Thermometer?

#664 in the Project is comes from a blogpost by Ron Kaufman at ‘Up Your Service’:

A waiter at La Pirogue Resort in Mauritius comes to work each day with a thermometer in his pocket. On the way to the restaurant he takes the temperature of the ocean water and the swimming pool. As he pours coffee and clears plates during breakfast, he joyfully tells guests exactly how warm and enjoyable their swimming will be that day. What a great way to improve customer satisfaction!

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway – Each employee can develop their own signature touch or added service. What’s Your Thermometer?

[Next Up is Chapter 20. ‘Convenience’ – the ninth of the 12 different types of purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Here are few funny commercials from Cartridge World:

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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