Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Nordstrom

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Nordstrom

It’s not easy finding a pair of shoes that you like for a particular occasion. What is even worse is when you find the perfect pair, but your feet are slightly different sizes–and one of the shoes doesn’t fit well. Our feet, much like us as humans, aren’t perfect. In fact, many of us have feet that aren’t quite the same size. Whether one is longer, shorter, more wide, or more narrow, the shoe department at Nordstrom understands this–and they’ve been using it to their Purple Goldfish advantage for a long time.


Since 1901, the good people at Nordstrom have worked to deliver the best possible shopping experience, helping customers possess style—not just buy fashion. Additionally, they’re committed to providing their customers with good service. With 347 stores in 40 states and Canada, you can certainly tell that their commitment to their customers has taken them far in the world of retail. In addition to selling customers two different shoe sizes as needed, Nordstrom also offers free shipping and free returns, and mobile shopping.


If you’re one of those lucky people whose feet are the same size, I salute you. Speaking as someone whose left foot is slightly larger than his right foot, I can tell you that Nordstrom has a customer in me for life. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who feels this way. After all, most of us wear shoes every single day of our lives. It’s important that they fit well–and sometimes that means they have to be two different sizes. 


Your customers are human. Realizing that they, just like you, are imperfect is they perfect way to find common ground. Purple Goldfish like these not only help you connect with your customers, but also help you retain them forever. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Ellen sent her beauty guru Kym Douglas to Nordstrom with a secret earpiece. The results are hilarious.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Starbucks

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Starbucks

There is one on every corner–and thank goodness! Sometimes I just need my coffee. While some people might get annoyed by the fact that their seems to be a Starbucks everywhere you go, loyal customers couldn’t mind in the least. These customers are the ones who appreciate the little things that Starbucks does for them every time they enter the coffee shop–no matter which Starbucks it happens to be. From similar atmosphere to free iTunes downloads to samples of their latest creations, Starbucks knows how to make their customers feel like they’re visiting a good friend.



The story behind Starbucks is one of those feel-good stories that really makes an emotional connection with customers. Again, they’re all about giving their customers that warm fuzzy feeling and they’ve been that way since the beginning. According to the Starbucks website, “It’s just a moment in time – just one hand reaching over the counter to present a cup to another. But it’s a connection. We make sure everything we do honors that connection – from our commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world, to the way we engage with our customers and communities to do business responsibly. From our beginnings as a single store over forty years ago, in every place that we’ve been, and every place that we touch, we’ve tried to make it a little better than we found it.”


Starbucks believes in coffee. More than that, they believe that people can become connected over coffee. When you meet someone new, your first date takes place somewhere safe and simple–a coffee shop. Have a business meeting? You offer to meet them halfway at the coffee shop. Starbucks knows that people come to them to settle in and to connect. Free coffee helps people build a connection with Starbucks–and with one another.


Never doubt the power of a good connection. As humans, we need to connect with other people regularly in order to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle. Starbucks realizes this–and they want to be the place customers go when they’re ready to slow down and connect with one another. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Did you know that Starbucks has a secret menu? Here are the reactions of people trying drinks off of the secret Starbucks menu–and they’re great.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Trader Joe’s

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Trader Joe’s

Taking your children just about anywhere these days can be tough. Most places aren’t exactly “kid friendly.” I don’t know about you, but I find the grocery store to be one of the least kid friendly places out there. That is, unless the grocery store accounts for children as part of their business plan. Very few do, but businesses who know best seem to know that if the children are happy, the parents are happy. And if the parents are happy, businesses know that they’ll be frequented again and again–simply because they offered that little extra to parents. At least, that’s the case at Trader Joe’s.


When it comes to a good customer service experience, taking care of the customer is the number one way to make them happy. What many businesses forget is that oftentimes, while the customer base itself is not made up of children, it IS made up of people who HAVE children. Trader Joe’s has not forgotten it–in fact, they’ve embraced it since the 50’s. In addition to offering a variety of free samples (at several dedicated sampling stations) examples of Purple Goldfish for kids have included a stuffed whale (if you find him, your child gets a treat out of a treasure box and then you get to hide the whale yourself for others to find) and miniature carts.


If you’ve never gone grocery shopping with a small child, you can count yourself lucky. They want to sample the food (even the food that isn’t there to be sampled–like fruit) and they want to push the (often huge) grocery cart. Any grocery store that can get ahead of these basic needs parents experience simply by walking through the door is a solid place to do business.


When you take care of the needs of children, you take care of the needs of parents. While this seems like an easy concept, many businesses forget that children are often part of the equation for their customer base. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – There are a lot of reasons to love Trader Joe’s–and they don’t all have to do with children. Watch this video to learn more about what makes Trader Joe’s great.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–AJ Bombers

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–AJ Bombers

Customer service doesn’t always have to feel special–sometimes it just has to feel fun. That “little extra” you give customers, which also makes service feel easy and carefree, is sometimes the only thing your most loyal followers want. At least, that’s how AJ Bombers feels. Perhaps that’s why they don’t just offer their customers free food (peanuts) but also deliver it by way of metal WWII Bombers. 


Happiness with a side of burgers. That is the AJ Bombers way. They strive to be a family friendly, fun eatery where no reservations are necessary. Adding to the atmosphere of fun is that “little extra” they describe as their peanut delivery system.


Everyone loves free food. It’s a fact of life. Whether it’s a free bag of popcorn, a free basket of peanuts, or a free meal free food equals happy customers. As a restaurant, AJ Bombers is well aware of this–and ensures that every customer who enters their doors gets free food delivered in a memorable way.


Great customer service doesn’t always entail grand gestures or expensive take homes. Sometimes, great customer service is done simply, ensuring it can be done for everyone over and over again.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Curious as to how those bombers work? Watch this video.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Lexus

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Lexus

Good customer service shouldn’t feel like a luxury. While it’s great when you find a reputable dealer to buy from, it feels even better when that dealer continues servicing your car needs long after you’ve driven off the lot. Perhaps that’s why Lexus offers concierge service to their buyers, including a courtesy car wash and vacuum, following maintenance services.


Lexus is a company that takes pride in their innovative, thoughtful designs and the relentless performance of their vehicles. What’s more, they were founded on the principal of being dedicated to always offering top-notch customer service. Showing that dedication through actions more than words, Lexus takes pride in their happy customer base all over the world.


Lexus goes beyond standard, striving for the unexpected. Washing and vacuuming our cars takes up time and money–and it’s almost always necessary after our cars leave an auto service shop. Lexus takes the inconvenience of dust, dirt, and oil out of the equation, ensuring their customers are back to doing what they love–faster.


While customer experience shouldn’t feel like a luxury, it often does. Luckily, Lexus wants to ensure that all of their customers, no matter what kind of vehicle they’ve purchased, leaves the Lexus dealership feeling a little bit happier than when they entered.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here are a few more ways Lexus makes customers feel like more than dollar signs. 

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Five Guys

Dining out is a treat–and we just love to treat ourselves. However, there have been times that I’ve gone out an ended up rather disappointed that I had to part with good money for a meal. Whether the food I ordered wasn’t up to par or the service left something to be desired, going out to eat can sometimes be a gamble. Yet whenever I think of the times I’ve gone to Five Guys, I always feel a smile on my face. How can I not when every time I go in I’m gifted with bonus fries, unlimited toppings, and free peanuts?


The founder of Five Guys, Jerry Murrell, knew early on that what would impress customers had nothing to do with decor–and everything to do with food. From the beginning, his goal was to serve customers fresh (never frozen) juicy burgers. Between the great food, the freebies, and the smiling service Five Guys went from a single restaurant in Washington D.C. to a franchise scattered across America. 


Founder Jerry Murrell says it best. “We figure our best salesman is our customer. Treat that person right, he’ll walk out the door and sell for you. From the beginning, I wanted people to know that we put all our money into the food.That’s why the décor is so simple — red and white tiles. We don’t spend our money on décor. Or on guys in chicken suits. But we’ll go overboard on food.”


In today’s world, it’s easy to get carried away spending money on your marketing. However, as Five Guys proves, you can keep your mission and marketing budget simple but still experience huge success.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Love Five Guys? Here are ten things that you may not know about them.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–TD Bank

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–TD Bank

A lot of companies like to lay the claim of being customer-centric, though not many live up to the hype. After all, when it comes to what I teach with Purple Goldfish it’s those little actions that speak far louder than words ever could. TD Bank not only has longer hours than other banks they’re also open seven days a week. In addition, they’ve pulled together a number of ways to communicate that they care about their customers including automated thanking machines and throwback Thursdays.


TD Bank’s “About Us” page is incredibly telling. The very first line reads, “If something matters to humans, it matters to us.” TD Bank calls this “Banking Human” and they’ve done business that way from the very beginning. To TD Bank, their customers aren’t just money in an account–they’re people. And while TD Bank is constantly searching for new ways to say, “thanks for banking with us” their actions of staying open late and on weekends, lending a hand in local communities, and taking care of their employees speak volumes.


TD Bank shares that they understand the weekend (and even after work) is when their customers tend to get things done. They recognize that one of those things is usually banking and for that reason, they keep their doors open late and on weekends. It’s just one way they’re Banking Human.


In today’s technology driven world, it can be easy for companies to rely on the convenience of technology to help customers. TD Bank uses technology to enhance the experience of their customers, but they’re committed to not letting technology take the place of humans.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – TD Bank prides themselves on being there for people through some of life’s biggest moments. To say thank you to their customers, they turned a trip to the bank into a true customer journey.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Southwest Airlines

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Southwest Airlines

I fly a lot for business. It seems that whenever I talk to people about air travel these days, however, there’s always a gripe. Poor customer service, rising costs, and increased delays seem to be a black cloud hanging over the majority of the airline industry. That being said, I personally look forward to my flight experiences. Southwest Airlines, with their happy staffers, bags fly free policy, and no change fees policy, are a beacon of light in the darkness.


Perhaps you’ve noticed the huge heart that Southwest Airlines uses in their branding. True advocacy comes when you reach the heart of your customer–and Southwest Airlines knows this. In an industry that seems solely focused on their bottom line, Southwest Airlines continues to value their employees who in turn value their customers. Their customers value service and that is what this airline is all about.


In 2016, airlines made a reported $3.35 billion in baggage fees alone. Given that that stems from roughly $25 per bag, you can only imagine what a $200 charge fee is capable of making for an airline. Southwest Airlines is committed to putting that extra money in the pockets of their customers–and they know that such service gets them customers for life.


When it comes to serving your customers, it’s important to look past your bottom line. This doesn’t mean that you have to go broke trying to please customers, but it IS important to realize there’s a big difference between being in business because you love it and being in business to make money.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Southwest Airlines helps to make a couple’s special day even more unforgettable.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Stew Leonard’s

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Stew Leonard’s


The power of giving and a little word of mouth can go a long way.  It can be an easy fact to forget once you become wrapped up in budgets and bottom lines–assuming you ever knew it at all. Stew Leonard certainly didn’t realize this back in the year 1969 when he was asked to go to the local elementary school’s career day and talk about his dairy store. In his first session he had only three students sitting in–two of which he knew. At the end of his talk, Stew reached into his pocket and dug out three coupons for free ice cream and handed them out to the kids. That little act–that one tiny freebie–required Stew’s next session to be held in the school’s auditorium!



Stew Leonard opened a dairy store in Connecticut back in 1969. He’d grown up the son of a dairy farmer and his father delivered fresh milk daily by truck. However, in the 1960’s things were changing for the dairy business and Stew knew he needed to change with it or go out of business forever. That’s when he envisioned a retail dairy store where kids could watch milk be bottled while mothers did their shopping. In the words of Stew himself, “Where kids go, customers follow.”


Make no mistake–Stew Leonard didn’t hand out coupons for free ice cream with the intent of selling out his next speaker session at the elementary school. Nonetheless that is where he found himself. Ultimately that tiny giveaway spoke to the core values that Stew had held all along: “Create happy customers… by selling the freshest products at the best prices in a friendly, fun atmosphere.


Even the smallest investments can be seen as a big draw for customers. One of Stew’s most popular Purple Goldfish proved to be a free ice cream with the purchase of $100 or more in groceries. It was that little extra that kept families coming back to his dairy store for years after he first opened his doors.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here is a tour of a Stewart Leonard’s for those who have never had the opportunity to visit one.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Safelite Auto Glass

Hall of Fame Class of 2013–Safelite Auto Glass

I can still recall that stomach sinking feeling that came over me when I realized my car had been broken into. There was nothing extraordinary about what happened. I hadn’t left anything massively valuable in plain sight. Cars get broken into regularly. Yet, when it happens to us, our entire world is turned upside down. We think of our vehicles as these safe, indestructible shells when in reality, they’re vulnerable just like we are. Safelite Auto Glass not only understands this, but they seemed determined to make me feel like a VIP, with vacuum and wipe service, on a day nothing else seemed to be going right.


Safelite repairs, Safelite replaces, Safelite does a little extra–and it doesn’t cost them a single penny to do it. After replacing your damaged window, Safelite Auto Glass simply cleans your windows, vacuums up any glass fragments, and sends you on your way with one less thing to worry about.


Purple Goldfish, also known as anytime a business goes above and beyond to provide that “little extra” to their customers, doesn’t have to be extravagant. It simply has to be memorable. Once a window on your car is replaced, our next biggest concern is broken glass. Safelite takes that worry away and then goes one step further in wiping down the brand new glass.


Getting auto glass replaced doesn’t have to be a big headache–and Safelite proves that with their outstanding customer service. By taking care of all the worries that surround a window replacement on a vehicle, Safelite is one giant leap ahead of their competition.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here are even more reasons why Safelite is above and beyond their competition.