#9 of 12 types of Purple Goldfish (Waiting) – Chapter 20

by Stan Phelps

in Waiting

[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 20, the ninth of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

The 9th of the 12 types of purple goldfish is all about ‘waiting’. Waiting for your customers is inevitable, especially if you are a successful business.  How you handle those moments and the little extras you offer can make a big difference.

Enough waiting already, let’s look at a bunch of examples:

Ugh . . . Flight Delays

jetblue promise#414 in the Project comes from Sharon Trainor-Smith.  Sharon talks about an experience with JetBlue:

“When flights are delayed they often show up at the gate with tables full of free water and snacks, and then set up a trivia game for everyone with good prizes such as free flight tickets, gift certificates, etc. The stranded passengers LOVED these bonuses and there was a lot of positive buzz. Plus by giving out flight tix, we were incented to come back to JetBlue. It turned a bad situation into a really positive group and brand bonding opportunity.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: When faced with lemons . . . make lemonade. Make the best out of a bad situation by being proactive.  It’s not about the water, snacks or trivia . . . it’s about what they represent.  They stand for the fact you care about your customers.  Kudos to JetBlue for bringing a little humanity back to air travel.

Smart moves that make waiting less painful

Great Wolf Lodge WaterparkThey say (whoever they are) that we spend 10% of our life waiting.  Even with all the practice we get, waiting still is painful.  If you are a business prone to peak throughput, you take steps to make the waiting bearable.

#509 in the Project is taken from Connecticut Magazine about America’s largest group of indoor waterparks Great Wolf Lodge

“At peak check in times the lodge has a face painter, juggler and balloon sculpter wandering to entertain guests.”

#613 and #614 in the Project is submitted by Judy Musa.  In Judy’s words:

“I have 2 Purple Goldfish:

Who likes to visit their dentist (no jokes please). Really, usually a painful experience wrought with anxiety, except the dentist I go to and the pediatric dentist (recommended by mine) where my kids go.

Ok, here’s purple goldfish. Dr. Alan Stern DDS, is funny guy, always ready with a joke or wisecrack to make the entire thought of visiting a dentist more like going to a comedy club. He does fabulous, meticulous work until he’s satisfied. He had a lab remake my crown because it was not perfect and wouldn’t exactly match my other teeth color. Equally important is that his staff is kind and caring. But wait, guests walk into a soothing scene with a cascading wall water fountain and a small mahogany tablecloth- covered tea table — ready with a selection of coffee or teas that Fran, Alan’s wife and office manager, suggests you try, along with a butter cookie, while you wait. There’s no grinning and bearing it, just lots of good vibes and kindness. Who doesn’t want that from their dentist?

Ok, dentist 2 is Atlantic Pediatric Dentists. My kids LOVE to go, really and if I could have been to these people I wouldn’t have had dental anxiety for 25 years. The kid-friendly space feels like Nemo’s tank with floating fish from the ceiling and a huge aquarium, toys, & video games. Oversized purple chairs, 25 flavors of toothpaste candy, gentle hygenists, and kids can demo enormous toothbrushes on a life-size Scooby’s teeth. The experience is complete with the coins at the end of the visit to operate a candy machine filled with tiny toys. It’s that little GLUE that reminds the kids to follow the brush and floss rule. Kids, Mom – satisfied until the next 6-month visit.

Peanuts and Bonus Fries

five guys purple goldfishFive Guys Burgers and Fries is one of my favorite examples of ‘marketing lagniappe’.  They are #94 in the Purple Goldfish Project.  Here are the 2 main reasons ‘Five Guys’ gets inducted into the Purple Goldfish Project Hall of Fame:

  1. Peanuts – This is an absolutely brilliant example of lagniappe while waiting.  One of the  signatures of ‘FIVE GUYS’ are the free peanuts they serve.  There is a huge box when you walk in.  In the early days the long lines forced the Jerry Murrell and his four sons Tyler, Ben, Chad & Matt (aka Five Guys) to distribute free, unshelled peanuts to placate waiting customers. The peanuts have become a FIVE GUYS trademark.
  2. Amount of Fries – They serve the fries in a styrofoam cup and a paper bag.  After they fill the cup they then chuck in another couple of handfuls into the bag.  You never get short changed on fries.

Put your name on the pad and grab a glass of complimentary wine

pacific cafe san franciscoPacific Café, a seafood restaurant in San Francisco, offers free glasses of wine while you wait for a table. They don’t accept reservations and it’s a popular spot, so the beverage is a nice gesture to extend to patrons as they wait to be seated.

It’s ‘all about’ the fans of your brand

#503 in the Purple Goldfish Project was taken from a tweet by Tim Baran (@uMCLE): Lady Gaga

Here is an excerpt by TJ from Neon Limelight:

“Say what you will about Lady Gaga . . . her persona is over the top ; her music videos are blasphemous  — but one thing you can never say is that she doesn’t love her fans

little monsters (Little Monsters).

Her connection with her Little Monsters is undeniable and the lengths she’ll go to to prove that are boundless.

Several Gaga fans camped out in early July  in front of the Rockefeller Plaza and braved the scorching New York City heat a day ahead of her concert appearance on the Today Show to ensure they get a prime spot.

Once Gaga learned that her Little Monsters were going all out to see her perform, she sprung into action to make sure the wait was a bit more bearable. “My little monster sweeties are already camped outside today show! I love u! Will be sending u pizza and water all day!” she tweeted.

Raising the bar on cx when faced with steep demand

If a picture is worth a thousand words . . . then this 19 second video is worth about twenty thousand.  Check out the crowds at ABT Electronics on April 16, 2010:

ABT Electronics powers up to #391 into the Purple Goldfish Project

This story was taken from post entitled, “It’s the Customer Experience, Stupid” from Ryan Deutsch of StrongMail:

“I am a true believer that marketers must engage consumers via email and social channels and must do so in a programmatic and relevant way. However, even with technology, strategy and marketing focus, some programs fail while others succeed — even when similar execution strategies are applied. What causes this variance? Easy, the customer experience. At its core, it is the customer experience that turns a one-time buyer into a loyal customer, subscriber, fan or follower. I feel we lose sight of this fact at times. I had an experience last month that reminded me how true loyalty is created between a brand and a consumer.

For those of you unaware, the federal government in the state of Illinois offered $6.5 million in rebates to consumers who purchased “Energy Saver” appliances between April 15 and April 25. Not being one to pass up money from the government, I rushed to ABT Electronics in Glenview. Our family was in desperate need of a new microwave oven. As I walked into ABT, it became clear that this was no ordinary sale. They had parking attendants directing traffic and the store was an absolute madhouse. I was immediately dejected assuming there was no chance of finding an associate to help me, let alone make a purchase. I found the microwave section and stood there looking lost for no more than 90 seconds before a young woman approached and asked if she could help.

“Yes, which microwaves qualify for the energy saver government rebate?”

She looked at me and admitted she had no idea and ran (yes, literally ran) down the aisle towards a manager and started speaking. After about 15 seconds, she ran (yes, literally ran) back to me and explained that microwaves were not part of the up government rebate program. While I appreciated her enthusiasm, I was less than happy. But I still needed a microwave, so I asked what she knew about combination microwave/convection ovens. Again she knew little but promised to find someone who did and off she went.

Less than two minutes had passed when a gentleman in a General Electric golf shirt walked up to me and said: “I hear you need help with microwaves.”

Now this was impressive. The store was mobbed, and in less than 90 seconds, I had an actual GE employee answering questions about GE appliances. A real subject matter expert on hand to help me! ABT had their vendors bring in experts to help customers understand the benefits of various appliances for the sales event. In less than two minutes, this gentleman helped me decide on a microwave oven, and I had forgotten all about the lack of the government rebate. The GE employee handed me off to a man in an ABT vest: “Follow me,” he said and off we went towards a line that must have included 700 people. My eyes rolled back in my head and I said, “Listen maybe this wasn’t the best day to come in…”

He cut me off, saying, “Don’t worry, we will be done in less than five minutes.”

Sure enough, this guy found a computer terminal and had me checked out in no time. I was in and out of the store on the busiest day of its existence in less than 30 minutes, feeling great about the product I purchased, even without the government discount.

Halfway to the exit my wife called. “Ryan, can you do me a favor and buy that replacement filter for our refrigerator?” she asked.

“Aargh,” was my response. I explained, “Rachel this place is crazy! There’s no way I’m going to be able to find a replacement filter.” I could feel my wife rolling her eyes — she’s been trying to get me to order this filter for more than two months.

“OK,” I finally said. At that moment a different gentleman in an ABT vest walked past. “Excuse me, sir,” I said. “Do you guys sell replacement filters for your refrigerators?” We both looked toward the refrigerator section, which was a zoo. The refrigerators were actually included in the government rebate program. “You know what,” I said. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll come back another time.”

“No, no that’s silly,” the gentleman said. “I’ll take care of you.” And off we went in search of a computer terminal. The gentleman started flipping his fingers across the keyboard and asked me a few questions.

He then said, “I apologize if this takes a few minutes to process your order, I am the CFO, so bear with me.” My jaw hit the floor.

Here I am at ABT on the biggest day of the year and the CFO is helping me make a $44 purchase. Not only did he treat me as if I were the most important person in the store, this guy, the CFO, was capable of entering an order into a computer terminal on the store floor and selling somebody something. I was absolutely blown away and walked out of there completely committed to buying every future electronic appliance from ABT.

In addition to my loyalty, thanks to the wonder of the social web, I took the time to write this blog talking about my experience at their store. Once finished with it, I will post it to my Twitter account, my LinkedIn page and hopefully one or two of the blogs I contribute to on a regular basis, sharing the story with thousands more readers. The blogs will deliver the story via email to an even broader audience. I am already a subscriber to ABT’s email communications, and I will continue to anticipate and appreciate those communications.

The point here is that customer loyalty does not start on a Facebook page or in a Twitter feed. It is not developed solely through relevant email communications and the appropriate cadence of messages.

Engagement between a brand and a consumer in any channel (email or social media) starts with the customer’s experience with that brand. If the customer experience is average, your consumer is unlikely to be a repeat buyer, they are less likely to click and open your communications, and they are never going to spend their social capital recruiting their friends to be your customers.”

This is a tremendous post on so many levels.  First – let’s look at the quad purple goldfishes:

  1. Parking attendants in the lot directing traffic.  Great first impression.
  2. Quick service that gets quicker.  Love the running bit.
  3. Making checkout painless and fast.
  4. Senior management that dives into the trenches and terminals.

Second I think Ryan really hit the nail on the head.  It all starts with the customer experience.  Loyalty isn’t gained via a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or an e-mail campaign.

Lastly is the point of going above and beyond for your customers.  The net effect is the generation of positive word of mouth. You effectively give your customer something to talk, tweet, Facebook and blog about.  Ryan does exactly that and more.  ABT used marketing lagniappe to tap into a one percenter and they created an evangelist.

H2O while you wait in line

J.Crew flows into the Purple Goldfish Project at #625 courtesy of a submission by  Jim Joseph, author of ‘The Experience Effect’

jcrew bottle of water“So here’s another purple goldfish, and I actually feature it in my book … I experienced it again yesterday.

J.Crew. I’m a huge fan, have been a for awhile. Brand experience is exceptional, always consistent whether you are at the store, online, or browsing the category. Distinct to each of those venues, but always J.Crew.

The shopping experience in store is particularly good. The sales staff all wear the clothing, so you can actually see how things will look. I’ve had many of them show me how to tie a tie the “just so cool way” they are wearing them, or how to role the cuffs up on a pair of jeans, or how to partner a pair of shoes with new khakis. This is in store, but they also offer a personal shopping service online as well.

I was at one of the Manhattan stores yesterday, and as you can imagine for a Saturday afternoon in December it was packed. Didn’t matter though, the service was impeccable. When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a salesperson. I immediately told her that I was looking for a purple jacket for my daughter …. she immediately took me to the back of the store to see three options. I went upstairs to the mens department where the service was just as good, despite the crowds.

With merchandise in hand, I proceeded to the registers where there was a huge long line. Here’s the kicker …. more sales people were working the line with buckets of small bottles of water for the people who were waiting. And helping select more items while people were in line.

That’s a purple goldfish!”

Spa services while you wait

#628 in the Project comes from an e-mail from Carolyn Ray.  She nominates Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer Lexus.

In Carolyn’s words:

lexus of north miami spa“At Lexus of North Miami people who come in for service are entitled to a complimentary spa service at their in house spa. Services include, manicures, pedicures, haircuts, waxing or chair massage.

There is a full service cafe, kids playroom, fitness center and pool room for waiting customers. Makes coming in for service a total pleasure!”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: If you are going to make people wait . . . figure out ways to make the waiting more bearable.  If you are a leader like Lexus, you give your dealerships carte blanche to create experiences that customers actually look forward to.  Lexus gets it and utilizes the ‘little extras’ as a key differentiator in the car ownership experience.

[Next Up is Chapter 21. ‘Convenience’ – the tenth of the 12 different types of purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Five Guys gets Exposed. Conspiracy?

{ 2 trackbacks }

Chapter waiting | Kickthathabit
September 15, 2011 at 11:35 am
Hertz gives a little unexpected extra that saves time and hassle
May 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

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