Make customers feel part of an extended family and you'll generate satisfaction and loyalty. Participants in Boston Duck Tours, a land and water tour of historic Boston, can purchase a pair of bright yellow lips that, when blown into, produce a quacking sound. Tour participants are encouraged to quack as they pass particular sites.

Customers get so caught up in the act of quacking that many of them permanently attach the lips to their key chains and quack whenever they see one of the company's amphibious vehicles. "It's not unusual to see a group of construction workers quacking at tours as they go by," general manager Cindy Brown asserts.

The quacking ritual brings customers closer together. When former tourists see others acknowledging a passing tour with a quack, they often strike up a conversation.

Is this company all it's "quacked" up to be? More than 150 pairs of lips are sold each day of the eight-month tour season. Last year, 234,000 people took the tour, and revenues topped $3 million. "During our peak season, which runs from June through August, there are 200 to 250 people waiting in line to buy tickets when we open up the office," says Brown.

Copyright 1999 G+J USA Publishing