As I was getting towards the end of the planing stages of the customer service series we did this month, I became aware of big problem. I realized that all of the previous posts kept saying how important great customer service was to creating loyal customers. I was trying to drive home the fact that taking the extra time to make sure your customers are happy would be well worth it.
But what I didn’t have was evidence.
Sure, the first infographic of the series gave you a lot of numbers, but what about real examples? What about entire stories of brands “surprising and delighting” from start to finish? So that’s how I decided I would close the series, and I hope you enjoy it.
What makes this different from Wednesday’s post about how to surprise and delight? Good question. It’s stories of surprise and delight, but those stories came from the businesses that worked surprise and delight into their marketing strategy.
Today’s stories come from the customers they made happy by doing something unexpected. They’re real proof that the customer cares about this kind of stuff.
So without further ado, here we go:
This story comes from an online friend of mine, who actually influenced my decision to use FatCow web hosting for my own personal website when I was in college. You see, whenever Jessica has a question or concern with her website, she uses FatCow’s live chat feature, and she always leaves the chat happy and satisfied with the help she got. After one of those interactions, she tweeted about her experience; something a lot of people do. No big deal, right?
Wrong. A few weeks later, she received a package from Etsy but couldn’t figure out what it could be. It ended up being a gift from FatCow, and it was the exact bracelet she had pinned to one of her boards on Pinterest.
What FatCow did right:
The most most brands would do after receiving praise on Twitter would be to favorite or reply, maybe retweet it. Most brands that decide to send gifts usually send something branded, which is still great. But when your customer is faced with the choice of something with a huge logo on it, or something unique they’ve had their eye on for awhile, they’re going to want to cross that unique item off of their wishlist.
Okay, yes, this is my story. But I didn’t want to eliminate a great story of surprise and delight just because it happened to me. Like Jessica’s story, it all started on Twitter. I shared a post that mentioned General Electric‘s content and social media marketing, which I have a longstanding obsession with for being brilliant. A friend responded, and then GE noticed us and joined the conversation, as well. Eventually, they asked me to DM them my address.
I had no idea what was coming my way. Honestly, I didn’t know much about GE’s products aside from large home appliances, and I knew they wouldn’t be sending me a washing machine for a few kind tweets. So I expected a t-shirt or a few stickers. I did get cool stickers that featured photos from their Instagram account, but I also got Season 1 of New Girl on DVD and a handwritten thank you note.
What GE did right:
Once again, this gift was super personal. New Girl is one of my favorite shows on the air right now. If you look at my Twitter feed on a Tuesday night, or what BuzzFeed posts I share, or my TV board on Pinterest, you’ll see that I’m pretty obsessed. They did their research to find out what I would enjoy the most. They also told me in the note to tweet them a picture of how I was using the magnets, which continued our conversation.
Finally, they turned a follower into a customer and an even bigger fan. Now that I can see what a great and personable company GE is, I always make sure their logo is on my light bulbs. When it’s time for me to buy another product that they make, you can bet I’ll take a close look at their models. And I think of GE every time I watch my DVDs or use their magnets.
OK, technically, this story isn’t coming directly from the customer. It’s coming from someone who works for P.F. Chang’s telling it to Andy Sernovitz, but it’s just too cool not to share it. It’s from 2009, and I can’t even imagine what the restaurant does now that Twitter’s bigger than ever and they’ve had time to improve their strategies.
Back in 2009, a girl with brown hair (we’re never given her name) walks into a P.F. Chang’s and tweets that she’s excited to eat there. Nothing too exciting. People tweet about food all the time, with or without “#NomNomNom.” But the restaurant’s social media team (located across the country) saw the tweet and called the location she was eating at. Based on her Twitter avatar, they described her to the restaurant to figure out if she was still there and what table she was at. Amazingly, they were able to identify her. The social media team then bought her the wrap she was tweeting about, as well as a dessert.
What P.F. Chang’s did right:
P.F. Chang’s was obviously monitoring and responding to social mentions in real-time, rather than going in an checking a few times a day. I’m sure it takes a lot of work and great resources for a national restaurant to be able to do that. Once they identified an opportunity, they were quick to act on it. There was no guarantee that the customer would still be eating by the time they reached the restaurant she was at, but that didn’t keep the social media team from trying.
They also gave the customer something with immediate payoff: free food during her current visit. A lot of loyalty programs make sure you come back by giving you something you can’t use immediately. By not giving her a gift card to use at her next visit, they had confidence that the gesture was enough to built loyalty and didn’t add any extra limitations. And as with the other two stories, they made sure the gift would be appreciated. They gave her a meal that they already knew she liked enough to tweet about it.
Has a brand ever done something like this for you? Has your brand ever gone above and beyond like this? Share your stories in the comments!
- 35 Customer Service Quotes to Remember Every Day
- 3 Tips for Customer Service on Twitter
- 14 Reasons to Do Social Customer Service [Infographic]
- 7 Ways to Surprise and Delight Your Fans and Customers [Infographic]