Customer Experience Top Ten List #6

by Stan Phelps

in purple goldfish project

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The 6th Top 10 List from #251-#300

We’ve hit the three century mark in the Purple Goldfish Project.  Lots of strong examples in this bunch with a focus on hotels.

It was hard to choose the 10, but here are the ones that were left standing:

10.  Reef Sandals (#277. Submitted by Brian Litvack) “Reef Sandals with bottle opener on the bottom.”

9.  Whole Foods (#258 from Nadine Cualoping)  ”Whole Foods gives you 10 cents credit towards grocery bill for each bag you bring in.”

8.  Umpqua (#295 Taken from Joseph Jaffe’s book ‘Flip the Funnel’) “Umpqua, a West Coast bank chain based in Portland, OR has tellers place customers’ cash on black wooden trays along with a silver chocolate coin embellished with the bank’s logo. [Editors Note: Add in Free wifi and their own brand of free gourmet coffee. Put it all together and you’ve got some sweet free perks]

7.  Warrug (#204 submitted by Kevin Sudeith)  “I’m in the Persian rug biz and ‘throwing something in’ at payment is a standard practice.  Almost any retail rug seller has stories about this practice.  In my case I throw in a book I wrote about the rugs I sell.”

6. CuisinArt Resort & Spa (#284 from Rob Gallo)  “You might just find a bottle of great rum in your room…and a bowl of their home grown cherry tomatoes.”

5.  Hotel Monaco (#290 submitted by Rob Gallo)  “The staff is friendly and helpful, even going so far as to hand us umbrellas as we headed out the door on a rainy day. Rooms are clean, and boast a hip decor. I especially loved the plush animal-print bath robes, available to each guest. Turn down service was a bonus. We arrived back to the hotel each evening to find ice in our ice bucket, the bed turned down with chocolates on our pillows, relaxing jazz music playing in our room, and the lights dimly lit. WOW! In addition, the wine hour each evening made our stay over the top.”

4.  Fjeldheim (#268 submitted by Nic Nelson) “There are a lot of vacation homes in the Lake Tahoe area. Some of them are as big as we are, some are as luxurious as we are, but none match us in both categories. This is actually a problem. How many groups of 20+ people are looking for a fully-appointed luxury chalet? (most settle for big cheap “tourist sheds”) How many high-end families actually want 9000sf and 9 bedrooms? (most high-dollar customers come in groups of less than 7, even when an extended family or two families are traveling together)  We try to close the deal, and we win repeat customers, largely because of the “lagniappe” we offer: little things like free handmade custom-glazed Fjeldheim coffee mugs, or a gift basket of wine, chocolates, cheese and crackers to the person who made the groups reservation, and sometimes big things like event shuttle service (allowing guests to park at the free casino parking at the bottom of the mountain, and shuttling them up to Fjeldheim) or even setting up a Christmas tree for them so that it was ready and lit when they walked in the door.”

3.  Peet’s Coffee (#299 by Ksenia Coffman) “#299) Peet’s Coffee & Tea give you a free cup of coffee when you purchase 1/2 lb or more ground coffee (or beans). Or an equivalent discount towards a purchase of a coffee drink.  Nice treat!”

2.  Porter Airlines (#300 by Brian Millman) “Porter Airlines 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.

. . . and the #1 on the sixth Top Ten List:

1.  Blue Ridge Soap Shed (#266 submitted by Karen Wylie)

“We are a 12 year old business and include gifts with every order we ship. We provide free samples with all web, phone and mail orders (about 4,000 orders a year), and the number of samples is based on the dollar value of the order.

First time customers were so unaccustomed to receiving something free, that we had to start labeling the gifts AS ‘gifts.’ When we didn’t, we estimate that 20-30% of new customers would call or email us worried that we made a mistake with their order. Some would ask how to return the extra product, others would state in very annoyed emails that they hoped they weren’t charged extra for it.

We quickly realized that our nice gesture had potentially negative consequences for us, because the free gift created a doubt or concern in some customers’ minds about their order, our business, or how we handled their order. So we adopted additional packaging and shipping procedures. All free items we provide now have a gold label that says ‘Thank You’ or ‘Enjoy this Gift’ or ‘With Our Compliments’ so there is NO QUESTION the item is free.

We initially started providing small samples to our web & mail customers as a marketing strategy. We would review a customer’s order, and include free samples of similar scents. Our free gifts have become quite a tradition, and something customers say they look forward to with each delivery. I don’t think this is a gesture we could ever stop making without incurring a negative or disappointing response from our very loyal customers.

Over the years, we extended our tradition to visitors to our retail shop because they asked why our mail order customers got something they did NOT. This required us to create a completely different set of procedures for providing free gifts in the face-to-face retail shop environment.”

Click here for the first Top 10 list from the first 50 examples of marketing lagniappe.

Click here for the second Top 10 list from #51 to #100 in the Purple Goldfish Project.

Click here for the third Top 10 list from #101 to #150 in the Purple Goldfish Project.

Click here for the fourth Top 10 list from #151 to #200 in the Purple Goldfish Project.

Click here for the fifth Top 10 list from #201 to #250 in the Purple Goldfish Project.

Click here for the entire list from The Purple Goldfish Project.

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