A few years ago I ordered a package from ASOS. Nothing fancy - a few t-shirts and a pair of jeans. At the time I lived in a large apartment complex that received many deliveries each day, however the building didn’t have a concierge. While at work I was sent a notification letting me know the package had arrived and needless to say I was excited to open it up.
I arrived home later that night to notice that there was no package - nothing at all in my apartment or downstairs in the mail area. With extreme disappointment I jumped onto the ASOS online chat to sort out the issue. I braced myself for a long and painful conversation, but I was shocked with the outcome, in a good way. I explained my situation to the online support representative and she apologised on behalf of the courier (who dropped the package off without a signature). The courier mistake was not the responsibility of ASOS, however by the end of the conversation she had placed a new express order for the exact same items, free of charge. This was a WOW moment for me.
Since that experience, I have shared this story countless times with friends and family. When trying to build your brand, Seth Godin explains it best, “it’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.” I felt loved by ASOS that day. There are many companies that try to provide this type of WOW experience for their customers, however there are only a few that do it well.
Most people are familiar with the brand Kleenex, a brand name that we’ve collectively agreed is what the generic product is called (others include Hoover and Band-aid). Kleenex was looking to engage with their customers in a unique and positive way. The company decided to monitor Facebook to identify people that had a cold or were ‘under the weather’. Kleenex reached out to the family/friends of the sick people they identified and asked them to help with a surprise. Within 2 hours of the posts being made on Facebook, the sick people received a Kleenex Kit that included get-well items. Here is the kicker: 100% of recipients posted about the experience on social media and this led to 650,000 impressions and 1,800 interactions with the brand during the campaign.
This story takes WOW to a new level. A customer was looking forward to a package from Nordstrom that included a $200 pair of shoes. The delivery company ended up leaving the package outside in the rain which ruined the pair of shoes. Although this was not the fault of Nordstrom at all, the customer service representative responded with “I'm so incredibly sorry that this happened, and I'm bringing over a brand new pair of shoes - will you be home in forty-five minutes?”
Given they are one of America’s oldest retail companies, Lord & Taylor struggled to engage customers via social media. They decided to run a campaign that focused on their customers. They made a request to their twitter followers to post an item from Lord & Taylor with the hashtag #obsessed. A few weeks passed and social media was inundated by customers praising Lord & Taylor. Why? These customers received a package with the the exact item they hashtagged. This was a big moment for Lord & Taylor, as the positive content generated from customers increased their popularity on social media.
This is one of my favourite customer experience stories and is the perfect example of a company going that extra mile to create a memorable experience. After spending a few days at the Ritz-Carlton in Florida, a young family returned home only to realise they their son left behind his beloved stuffed giraffe (Joshie). The son was distraught when he realised and the parents had no choice but to tell their son that Joshie was “just taking an extra long vacation at the resort.”
The team at Ritz-Carlton called that same night to let the dad know they found Joshie and the dad explained the lies he had been telling his son. A few days later a package arrived from Ritz-Carlton, it included Joshie along with some hotel branded gifts. However, there was one extra item in the package that took the experience to the next level. They included a binder that outlined Joshie’s extended stay at the Ritz for their son to see. There were photos of Joshie at the pool, getting a massage and even riding a golf cart.
Suja Juice is another company that has leveraged social listening to surprise and delight customers. As part of one of their campaigns, the juice company aimed to identify people who were having bad days or were tired/sick (searching hashtags like #sick #hungover #mood) and offered to improve their day with one of their nutritious juices. By taking this approach they were able to reach about 400 people and ship close to 6,000 of their products, while brightening the days of their customers.
“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.” - Jeff Bezos
Every organisation is aiming to build brand loyalty and create lifelong fans. There has never been a more important time to be proactive with your customer relationships and organisations are leveraging available data and social media to create moments their customers will always remember.
This report draws on our work driving change at large companies as well as from thought leadership in the space of not just management literature, but also evolutionary biology, psychology and sociology, because in order to see things clearly and influence human behaviour, we need to think holistically.