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Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Pizza Shuttle

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–Pizza Shuttle

I’m pretty sure everyone loves pizza. There are just so many ways that you can enjoy it. A variety of crusts, toppings, sauces, and servings really can make just about anyone happy. Plus, because there are so many different places to get pizza, the price can always be counted upon. Of course, not all pizza companies are created equal. Pizza Shuttle, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, throws in a handful of extras to their orders, setting them apart from the likes of places like Papa John’s, Godfather’s and Domino’s. That’s why Pizza Shuttle was added to the 2012 Hall of Fame.

THE ORIGIN

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconson Pizza Shuttle has a handful of signature extras. My personal favorite is the “The Largest Pie in Wisconsin” a veritable $39.95 gut buster. According to an article by Josh McDonald, it looks like they also throw in the ice cream as an added lagniappe. While there isn’t much out there about the origins of Pizza Shuttle, one thing is certain–they are the masters of a first and last impression when it comes to pizza.

WHY MONSTER PIES AND CUSTARD?

When it comes to eating pizza, there is no such thing as “enough.” Whether you’re struck by the ooey gooey cheese or the way your teeth sink into the crust, we usually can’t help but take just one more piece, can we? At Pizza Shuttle, their pies are out of this world good. Made up at just the right combination of cheese, crust, toppings, and grease, one slice is never enough. Of course, when you order a Monster Pie, you’re sure to have leftovers ensuring you get to enjoy your yummy pizza long after you’ve left Pizza Shuttle.

As for that free custard–Wisconsin is famous for dairy (think: cheese). Adding delicious free custard to the end of an already amazing meal will keep their customers talking–and coming back again and again. Besides, who doesn’t like free custard?!

TAKEAWAY

Sometimes, satisfying our customers doesn’t come from great customer service. Rather, it comes from giving them more of what they love–and less of what they don’t want. At Pizza Shuttle, they know the people who come to them want one thing: more pizza. What’s more, they always deliver.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – The Pizza Shuttle offers The Pizza Challenge–and your shot at winning $500. Watch one couple make the attempt in today’s video.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Ikea

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–Ikea

I still remember the first time I walked into IKEA. Let’s just say that I once thought walking into Target was going to be a suck on my wallet. Of course, as anyone who has been to IKEA knows, there are ample opportunities to furnish your place for so little money. However, in taking advantage of all of these inexpensive opportunities, you can actually end up spending quite a bit. One thing that helps IKEA customers spend even more? The fact that IKEA offers childcare services (meaning you can roam their vast store child-free) AND their delicious meatballs. I don’t think I’ve ever left IKEA without first downing a plate of meatballs.

THE ORIGIN

The little extras are baked into IKEA’s model. They epitomize high value and low maintenance. Free childcare at Smaland, free breakfast, low cost signature meals like Swedish meatballs and a slew of low cost items help place IKEA into the Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Best of all, IKEA has valued people from the beginning.Perhaps that is why they offer so many excellent perks to their customers. IKEA is a company that believes that people, both customers and employees, come before products–but together, people and products can be great.

WHY MEATBALLS AND CHILD CARE?

As anyone who has ever walked through an IKEA can attest, they day can be overwhelming. There just is no way around it. First of all, the IKEA inventory is vast. It just goes and goes and goes. When you’re taking a child through the inventory, overwhelmed can quickly lead to stressful. And, of course, so much walking is bound to make anyone at least a little hungry. IKEA has taken away the burdens of a long day of shopping for their customers by providing child-care and food. The question here should really be why NOT child care and meatballs?

TAKEAWAY

Shopping for a home can be a big burden. Not only is it stressful, it can also feel totally overwhelming. Luckily, the experts at IKEA have helped to lift a little bit of that burden from their customers via their freebies.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Whether you have or have never been to an IKEA, you’ll really enjoy this couple seeing the inside of IKEA for the first time ever.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Kiehl’s

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–Kiehl’s

Try it before you can buy it. Those words are music to my ears. Whether I’m buying a new car, sampling a new flavor of ice cream, or searching for a new pair of shoes–I want to be able to try something before I make my purchase. In most instances, I’m going to be stuck with said purchase and no real easy way out. Shouldn’t I be absolutely positive that I’m making the right decision? You may know that one of the 12 types of purple goldfish is sampling–and that is exactly what today’s Hall of Famer, Kiehl’s, does best.

THE ORIGIN

Kiehl’s allows customers to get samples in one of three ways–you can visit their store, you can visit their counter at a department store, or you can call them to request a sample. Why try something before you make a purchase? Kiehl’s explains it best when they say, “We understand that no two skin or hair types are exactly alike and that products work differently for each person. To ensure you find the precise products that meet your needs, Kiehl’s pioneered an extensive Sampling Program many years ago. We’re confident that when you try our products, you will recognize the high quality and efficacy of the preparation.”

WHY FREE SAMPLES?

As stated on their websites, Kiehl’s recognizes that while they may sell the same product to two different customers–no two customers are exactly alike. One may choose a shampoo for how it makes their hair feel while another customer may be strictly in love with how that same shampoo smells. The thing is that as customers, we’re so overwhelmed by the demand to buy RIGHT NOW (4th of July sale! One day only sale! Black Friday!) that we forget we have a choice in what we purchase. We’re allowed to try it, consider it, and make the best decision for ourselves that we can.

TAKEAWAY

Customers like to feel like they are in control–and that they are making good decisions. Free samples are one way that we can empower our customers to feel like they’re in charge of the purchases they’re making and the money they’re spending. That is an excellent gift to be able to give to a customer.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Sometimes, getting a free sample more than once could require a disguise. At least, it does in the video below.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–L.L. Bean

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–L.L. Bean

In my experience (and probably yours) the word “no” when it comes to good customer service is unheard of. After all, “no” has a negative connotation in most cases. That’s why when, as a customer, I experience the word “no” in a positive way I sit up and pay attention. With Maine retailer L.L. Bean the word “NO” isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact when it comes to free shipping and guarantees, they really know how to turn a negative into a positive.

THE ORIGIN

Leon Leonwood Bean, founder of L.L. Bean, returned from a hunting trip back in 1912 with really cold, wet feet and a revolutionary idea. He started to combine rubber bottoms with soft leather uppers, thereby creating a waterproof, non-slip boot that didn’t exist anywhere else at the time. Today, these duck shoes are imitated by many retailers but can’t compare with the originals by L.L. Bean  which to this day are handcrafted in Maine. And because L.L. Bean is so convinced his boots were the best boots, he offered a LIFETIME guarantee on them. How’s THAT for good customer service?

WHY FREE SHIPPING AND A GUARANTEE?

Free shipping is one of those little items a store can throw in that makes a big difference today. I can’t be the only one who has looked at my online shopping cart and decided to toss a product because five things were far more expensive to ship than four. In today’s world, free shipping is excellent business practice.

Now let’s talk about that other word: guarantee. The truth is that if you have an excellent product and you stand behind it, there is no reason you shouldn’t offer a guarantee on it to your customers. Many companies do, but putting it out there in print makes a big difference to your customers. L. L. Bean clearly knows this and it works for them.

TAKEAWAY

Creating a good product or service that you feel confident selling is very important. At L. L. Bean, they’re so confident in what they’re sending to you that they’re not putting any restrictions on how long it will last–it’s guaranteed for a lifetime and ships at NO cost. No doubt customers feel excellent putting their money toward L.L. Bean products time after time–since about 1912.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Did you know that L.L. Bean offers outdoor discovery schools for kids? Learn more about what they do and how they hope the great outdoors can impact a whole new generation.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Besito

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–Besito

Dining out continues to be a bit of a luxury these days. Whether it’s fast food or a sit down restaurant, the fact is that not every household can afford the perk of eating outside their home. Perhaps that’s why when I go out to dine with my family, I’m forever looking forward to those little extras some restaurants will give that ultimately make me want to return to them. From fortune cookies to flying peanuts, it truly is the small touches that make restaurants stand out from their competition. So is the case with today’s Hall of Famer, Besito– a New York restaurant. They like to throw in churros and worry dolls for every patron–and customers love it.

THE ORIGIN

Besito means “little kiss” in Spanish. It also happens to be the name of an authentic Mexican restaurant based in Roslyn, New York. According to their website, each of the now six Besito restaurants is a love story. Their locations are an extension of the connection and respect they feel for one another and the food they share with their customers. It’s a beautiful sentiment that extends from their foundation as a business all the way out to what they feed to their customers and how their customers are treated.

WHY CHURROS AND WORRY DOLLS?

It makes sense that a restaurant would throw in additional food as a “thank you for coming.” At Besito, a churro which is a warm, long spirals of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar is delivered in a white paper bag ready for you to take home (you’ll be too full to eat it after your delicious meal–trust me). Along with your churros, a tiny “worry doll” is included to be put under our pillows to take away worries. Both items are deeply rooted in culture, giving that little extra to customers in a very unique way.

TAKEAWAY

Why did you go into business? This is one of those questions that is incredibly important for you to answer, but many business owners aren’t sure how to respond. Besito came about through a love of food and culture. That culture is extended beyond a patron’s single stop at one of their six restaurants, spilling over into a memorable adventure for however long that worry doll lies under said patron’s pillow. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Ready to make your own worry doll who can help take all of your worries away while you sleep? Here’s a video on how to do just that. Don’t worry–they’re quite simple to create.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Mitchells

Hall of Fame Class of 2012–Mitchells

As customers, we like to know that we’re appreciated. Perhaps that is why even the smallest gesture from a company we’ve done business with has a huge impact. Jack Mitchell is CEO of The Mitchells Family of Stores, and owns several high-end retail stores, including Marsh, Mitchells, and Richards. What do these stores have in common? Their bottom line is all about impacting their customers in positive ways–and they do this through personal touches.

THE ORIGIN

Jack Mitchell, CEO of Mitchells Family Stores, authored a book titled Hug Your Customers. One might guess that this is a man who is exceptionally customer-centric. What is more, it seems that Mitchell has been that way from the beginning saying, “It can be something as simple as a smile. It’s about making a human connection. Connections are ‘hugs.’ And hugs create loyalty.”

WHY WRITE THANK YOU NOTES?

Technology is truly becoming the norm in business. Think about it: when was the last time you as a business owner personally thanked a customer? When was the last time you personalized those thanks through a handwritten note–not an email generated by an email nurturing sequence? Jack Mitchell wrote 1,793 personal notes to the customers of his retail stores which adds up to about 5 notes every single day. You can bet that those handwritten notes are far more meaningful to customers than just about any technology-driven thank you.

TAKEAWAY

We all get busy running our businesses. Sometimes, we get so busy on the back end of running a business we can forget how to take care of our customers ourselves. Jack Mitchell probably set aside about an hour a day to write those five personalized thank you notes. It’s a little touch that makes a big difference to his customers and THAT makes all the difference to a business.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Not sure how to write a thank you for your business? Here’s a short guide on how to write a thank you note that will have a big impact on your customers (or just your grandma).