“The little things are infinitely the most important.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle shared this axiom in “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.”

I agree with Conan Doyle and believe that great brands employ this elementary idea.

They purposely go above and beyond to provide a little something extra to honor the relationship with customers. In doing so they create a differentiated experience (DX) that drives retention and promotes positive word of mouth.

I call these little extras Purple Goldfish. Over the last 12 years, I’ve researched over 1,500 examples.  I’ve found there are 10 ways to either add value or reduce effort for customers. Here they are with an example of each:

1. Throw-ins – little extras that are included with your product or service. Something thrown-in for good measure.

Example: DoubleTree by Hilton provides you with a warm chocolate chip cookie when you check-in.

2. Sampling – an additional taste by offering a free something extra on the house. 

Example: Order a box of tea from Bigelow and you’ll be treated to a sample of another flavor.

3. First & Last Impressions – you have two chances to make an impression. These are little things to make you memorable.

Example: Moe’s Southwest Grill is known for its signature welcome, “Welcome to Moe’s!” 

4. Guarantees – that little extra pledge that you’ll stand behind your product or service. 

Example: Hampton Inn by Hilton has a satisfaction guarantee, “If you’re not 100% satisfied, we don’t expect you to pay.” 

5. Pay it Forward – giving a little extra back to the community. 

Example: TOMS matches every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. 

6. Follow Up / Thank You – little extras to follow up with your customer and/or to say thank you. 

Example: Mitchell’s writes five handwritten notes per day to thank its best customers.

7. Added Service – the little extra that’s an added unexpected service. 

Example: Safelite AutoGlass repairs your windshield, but they also vacuum your car and clean your windows.

8. Convenience – the little extras you add to make things easier.

Example: TD Bank is open 7 days a week and some nights until 8 p.m.

9. Waiting – all customers hate to wait. If it’s inevitable, how can you do a little extra to make it more bearable? 

Example: Free peanuts while you wait at Five Guys.

10. Handling Mistakes – admitting that you’re wrong and doing a little extra to make it more than right.

Example: Boloco keeps an ear out for less-than-completely-satisfied feedback and bends over backward to make things right. Is the salsa mysteriously missing from your burrito? A free menu item will be magically added to your rewards card.

Do you know any companies that purposely exceed the expectations of their customers with little extras? What’s your favorite Purple Goldfish?

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.