Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Make It Personal - II

(1:19) I tend to have pretty high expectations about what makes for good customer service. I'm always attune to examples of good and bad in my personal and business life and like to analyze why an experience succeeded or failed.

(1:13) One of my all time favorite companies for outstanding customer service is Chewy.com. Many of you are likely aware that we cruise with two Labrador Retrievers. If you have met our crew or follow their blog then you probably know that they have a special life which includes special food. Purchasing dog food at a local grocery store or Walmart is not an option. So over the years I have used multiple online companies to deliver food to marinas where we take our boat.

(1:03) That changed a couple of years ago when I discovered Chewy.com and now there is only one source that I use. The reason is they have the most exceptional customer service I have ever experienced. I have been impressed over and over again with the way they have handled a variety of situations.

(0:56) Well, this week they were able to blow me away again.

(0:54) As I sorted through a mail drop which included several holiday cards from businesses we work with, there was one from Chewy.com. But this was not your typical card with a pre-printed signature. It wasn't even a card that had been hand-signed. It was a card with a handwritten, personal multi-paragraph message.

(0:45) The note addressed me by name, mentioned my pets, and thanked me for my business. It wished me happy holidays and was signed by the co-founders.

(0:40) Now I don't pretend to know that it was actually the founders who wrote this message but to me that doesn't matter. It was that obvious effort that went into the gesture that had its impact.

(0:34) I also don't necessarily believe that everyone who purchased from Chewy.com last year got a similar card. I have two Labradors and buy a lot food, treats, and other things from this business, so maybe this is for their best customers only. I really don't know.

(0:27) My point is not to run out, purchase stacks of holiday cards, and start writing. But think about the things you can do that are very personal to your customers. There is no better way to create customer loyalty and motivate word-of-mouth marketing. We all tend to talk about things that surprise us. Consider the large amount of free publicity Chewy.com has received from me today. I bet if you have a pet you'll be checking out the site in a moment.

(0:16) Think about ways that you can bring that personal touch to boaters. A couple of years ago, a dockhand took a picture of me and my dogs as our boat arrived at the marina and gave it to me. That's an easy, wonderful gesture since most boaters have few pictures of their own boat underway. How about a handwritten thank you placed on the cockpit the day they leave? Use your imagination!

(0:06) Make me feel special and I'll be back and tell all my friends. You can't buy that kind of incredible exposure.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.