Archives For Baltimore

If you are going to disrupt an industry, it makes sense to challenge a service that doesn’t provide a good customer experience. Most people who I know have had a negative experience in a taxicab at one time or another. Hailing a cab, rude drivers, cabs that are late and never show up, dirty and poorly maintained vehicles are just some of the problems people encounter. The best innovations identify and solve a customer problem in a new and unique way. Brand Storyteller, Blogger and author Bernadette Jiwa says that “the job of every single business on the planet is to do just one thing – to make people happy. When you find ways to do that you win”.

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Uber is startup ride sharing service based in San Francisco. Uber was launched in 2010.  Uber utilizes mobile apps to connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Uber arranges pickups in over 200 cities worldwide. Consumers reserve a car by using a mobile app to request a car. The mobile app can be used to track the reserved car’s location, make, model, driver’s name, license plate number and estimated pick up time.

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I started using Uber as a result of a promo code that a friend shared with me this summer. A key lesson for content marketers is that good and useful content is easy to share. I downloaded the app on my iPhone, requested a ride and the driver arrived within 5 minutes. I had dinner that night with a friend in the Fells Point section of Baltimore. After dinner, I requested my ride from Uber and the driver again arrived in five minutes. The driver was polite and the during the 20 minute ride home we discussed basketball and the Baltimore Bullets. My experience was great. Following that experience, I have recommended Uber to several friends. I love Uber’s tagline “Everyone’s Private Driver”. In 2013, the USA Today named Uber its tech company of the year.

For me, Uber, is more than a tech company. Uber is a brand that utilizes technology and data to create a great customer experience. Startup’s like Uber are very unique. They connect buyers and sellers through a unique business model. They use data to make sure users have a great experience. Data is also used to continually learn and improve the service. Consumers are able to rate their experience with drivers building trust in the Uber Brand. Uber is powered by technology but delivers a unique, human experience.

Have you used Uber and if so how was your experience?

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I am a big fan of the “Better Burger” concept. Better Burgers are one of the fastest growing segments in the fast food restaurant market. “Better Burger” restaurants provide upscale fast food that beats the chains on food quality and customer experience at reasonable prices. There are many regional chains emerging with exciting growth prospects. I have written in this blog about the product and marketing innovations of “IN N OUT BURGER”, “Five Guys“, “Smashburger” and “Shake Shack“.

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I am now working in Baltimore and recently discovered BOARDWALK FRESH BURGERS & FRIES in the Hunt Valley Mall in Cockeysville, Maryland. Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries was founded by Dave and Fran DiFerdinando in White Marsh, Maryland in 1981. They were inspired by the legendary fresh-cut fries that they had eaten on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. The brothers had vacationed there as children. Their idea was to make the fresh-cut french fries they discovered at the Maryland shore available to people around the country. The brothers offered their french fries with a high quality fresh burger that was hand formed every morning and made to order.

I had lunch last Sunday at BOARDWALK. My meal was delicious. My burger was made to order. I enjoyed a 7 ounce Bacon Burger with cheese and fried onions. The fries are outstanding and worth the hype. The employees were enthusiastic and helped provide a pleasant customer experience. The stores are designed in an ocean boardwalk theme which adds to their appeal.    

Boardwalk has a simple menu. Customers have two options when ordering their burgers. They can choose one of the 3 signature burgers, or build a burger totally customized to their liking. The famous fries are hand-cut every day and only made to order.  They are cooked in 100% peanut oil. Boardwalk recommends dressing them the way they do in Maryland with loads of vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. I will try that option next time. Other menu items include beef hotdogs, chicken, shakes and funnel cake fries for dessert.   

Boardwalk currently has 18 stores in seven states. Plans are under development to add 200 restaurants across the United States in the next couple of years. Boardwalk has built a unique brand and concept with strong recognition in its local markets. Others have noticed. The New York Times ranked Boardwalk Fries on their baseball stadium culinary report. Boardwalk Fries are available at Oriole Park in Camden Yards Baltimore.

Have you tried Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries?

As a life-long baseball, I enjoy watching games in different major league and minor league parks. When I travel to a new city, I try to attend a game. One of my bucket list goals is to see a game in every major league ball park. Each ball park is a unique experience that creates vivid memories that last a life time. It is an opportunity to spend time relaxing with family and friends.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to attend two games at Oriole Park in Camden Yards. This was my first opportunity to see Camden Yards live. I saw the Orioles play the Angels in June and the Oakland A’s in July. I attended one of the games with two of my daughters. My oldest daughter is a passionate and knowledgeable baseball fan. For me, as a lifelong baseball fan this was a “WOW” fan experience.

2012 was the 20th anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards. Oriole Park is the Stadium that forever changed baseball in a positive way by helping baseball return to its authentic roots and providing fans with a great experience. Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore was the first of the “retro” major league ballparks constructed during the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

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Customer Experience is key differentiator for brands and businesses today. Even hospitals are now focused on improving the patient and visitor experience. Good customer experiences are useful, easy and enjoyable. A positive customer experience creates a strong emotional connection with your customer. A positive customer experience creates a much stronger emotional connection than traditional advertising messages.

A visit to Camden Yards in Baltimore is a positive customer experience. It has old-time charm with modern conveniences. Camden Yards has a great selection of food and drinks. The people who work at the stadium were polite, friendly and very friendly.

In his book “Platform.” Michael Hyatt describes a WOW experience as having some combination of the following elements:

•    Surprise – always exceeds our expectations. It creates delight, amazement, wonder or awe

•    Anticipation – anticipating a WOW experience is almost as good as the experience

•    Resonance – touches the heart

•    Transcendence – you experience purpose

•    Clarity –  creates a moment when you see things more clearly

•    Presence –  creates timelessness

•    Universality – nearly universal

•    Evangelism – has to be shared

•    Longevity – The shine never wears off

•    Privledge – Makes you proud in a good way

My visits to Oriole Park at Camden Yards last summer combined many of the elements that Michael Hyatt outlined in his book. It was an experience that I anticipated and will always remember.

Can you share a great fan experience?