Virgin America lights the way with this thoughtful extra

by Stan Phelps on February 14, 2011

in purple goldfish project

A better flying experience by design

#696 in the Project is taken from a post by Mark Hurst on his blog ‘Good Experience’.  Mark writes about how Virgin America improves the sensory experience of flying.

virgin america mood lighting

Mark references a Newsweek post that outlines design decisions geared towards improving the traveler experience:

Designer Adam Wells describes just one improvement – lighting:

“Typical airlines are so badly lit. There’s a greenish hue that comes from fluorescent lighting. That gives a distressed, nauseous skin tone. It doesn’t do anything to help your frame of mind to see everyone looking sickly around you. People have an emotional and physiological response to lighting. So we decided to shift the color of our cabin lights during the course of flight. They’re associated with time of day outside, or ambient light outside. If you’re flying by day and heading into dusk, it will reflect the light level outside. It’s less jarring.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Customer experience involves all 5 senses.  Great experience can be achieved by design.  Virgin America stands out by altering the ordinary and doing a little extra.  Is it working? Here is YouTube video by a happy customer who says, “First time onboard Virgin America and it won’t be our last. The mood lighting really made me relaxed.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Here is a little additional insight from the legendary founder of Virgin America, Sir Richard Branson.  Here is his take on the importance of customer experience taken from a post by Arie Goldshlager.  Arie quotes Sir Richard:

“A successful business must never lose its focus on its customers and its standards. Managers and executives need to be constantly on their guard and respond quickly to problems. Thanks to the Internet, the fallout from a badly handled complaint in London can reach the other side of the globe within seconds. When an issue turns up, a company’s response can have a big impact on its reputation and its long-term success.

“A good first step would be to encourage everyone on your staff to take an active role in coming up with new ideas and solutions to improve your products and services. Ask your people to experiment and to offer suggestions, and make sure that they are able to do this without worrying about speaking out of turn or being embarrassed in front of their peers—they should be confident that managers will listen to what they have to say. There is no such thing as a bad idea in my book; there are just some that are harder to achieve and pay for! As a manager, I would rather have the chance to weed through those ideas than rely on the status quo.”

Bonus Extra – Here is a creative way that Virgin America promoted the new mood lighting:

virgin america bus shelter

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish,  is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth?  Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

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