Need Your Vote: The Final Four on the #marchto800


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Introducing the Finalists

Back in March I announced a contest called the March to 800. I was channeling a little March Madness to round up a field of 64 purple goldfish. The reason was to celebrate reaching the milestone of reaching #800 in the Project.

purple goldfish ipod shuffle

The winning entrant will receive an engraved Apple iPod shuffle. The plan was to work with a ‘selection committee’ to narrow the field to a Sweet 16 and Final Four. A hearty ‘thanks’ to my stellar group who helped cull the wheat from the chaff. They included Jack Campisi @jackcampisi, James Sorensen @expertinservice, Denise Barlow @dabarlow, Barry Dalton @bsdalton, Ty Sullivan @ty_sullivan, Keith Green @keithstweets and Jack Monson @jackmonson.

Introducing the top four vote getters:

#737 Hard Rock Hotels – Check in and Rock out submitted by Rick Liebling @Rick_Now

hard rock check in and rock out

Gratification. That’s what the luxury brand experience should embody. And what’s more gratifying than getting a unique amenity like a world class Gibson guitar delivered to your room at no charge? The first power chord you nail after that six hour meeting, that’s what. So forget in-room movies. Just Check In and Rock Out. Only at Hard Rock Hotels.

Guests may choose from Gibson’s SG Standard and Les Paul Studio, as we’ve got plenty (see the guitar descriptions below). Plus, with the Pocket Pod Amps and high-def ‘Beats by Dr. Dre’ headphones we’ll also provide, you can rock out at hard as you want with zero noise complaints. As there’s no charge or time limit to the program, we encourage you to sample the guitars and keep them for as long as you’re staying in the Hotel.

#750 Universal Studios – Examples of how Universal tries harder taken from a post by Lou Imbriano @louimbriano

universal express pass

They are two very different parks, but with Disney being the 800 pound Mouse in Orlando, it is easy to understand why Universal seems to be trying harder. They are providing customer service that Disney isn’t, and perhaps cannot, due to sheer volume. The most glaring difference is in lodging on property in Universal Studios as compared to staying on property in Disney World.

The most pleasant customer service play is that when you stay at one of Universal’s three in-park hotels, you automatically receive Universal Express and it is unlimited at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (which can also be purchased in the park for a hefty fee of $70.99 per person, per day). Universal Express is similar to Disney’s Fast Pass, where you are able to go into a quicker line to get to the ride or attraction. In Disney, Fast Pass is free, and everyone has an opportunity to access quicker lines based on appointment times set for riding or viewing. Disney’s Fast Past is a nice mechanism that allows you to enjoy more rides during the day, and if you know how to properly plan your timing to run around and work the system, you will have a much more pleasant experience than by always waiting in the regular lines.

Universal Express pass beats out Disney’s Fast Pass hands-down. If you are a guest at one of the Universal park’s hotels (Hard Rock, Portofino or Royal Pacific), the only thing you have to do is show your room key at the ride entrance, and you are “express” all the way to the front of the line. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and received this perk. In an unscientific calculation, we estimated that flashing our room key saved us anywhere from 50% – 75% off our wait. When the posted wait time on specific rides stated 60 minutes, we were typically in line for 15 minutes max with the Express pass. During our stay, we probably saved a full day of not waiting in lines. This courtesy to its hotel guests is an over the top amenity that is worth not only a mention, but a rave review. If we were to purchase Universal Express for a family of four, it would have cost over $280 a day, or almost half the cost of a two-room “Kids Suite”. That’s incredible value, no matter how you calculate it.

#782 Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf submitted by Ryan Macaulay

coffee bean tea and leaf supports the troops

At Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in LA, if you buy a bag of coffee to support our troops overseas, Coffee Bean will buy your round of coffees at the time of purchase- even better, there is a blank white area on the actual coffee bag designated specifically for you to write a personal message to the troops the coffee is going to!

#800 L.L. Bean taken from a post by Barry Dalton @bsdalton

ll bean guarantee

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 noplace 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?”


Submit your vote:

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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