I'm a workout person. I enjoy running, yoga, and lately, pilates. I was the kid with horses in her head all winter, waiting for summer camp season to arrive; I’ve been riding almost my whole life. All of this means that I think a lot about what I wear during these athletic adventures.
A few months ago, I was on vacation in Portland, ME, killing time in a nature food store, when I came across Boody Wear. It’s a super comfortable clothing line made from bamboo yarn; eco-friendly and sustainable. I bought a shirt that day, and very quickly became obsessed with the products.
Not long after, I placed an order, and when it arrived, one of the items was the wrong size. No problem, I sent the item back at their cost and figured it would be replaced without issue. I forgot about the return, until one day I saw an ad for Boody Wear, and thought “Hey…wait a minute! What happened to my shirt? A few quick, friendly emails back and forth uncovered a mistake on their end.
My replacement box arrived quickly, and something cool happened next. Inside the box sat my replacement shirt, as well as a tank top and a pair of sox. For a moment I thought, “Damn,” and then I realized they sent me the additional items for free. FREE. One of my favorite brands sent me free stuff because they made a small error. I was elated, and immediately tried everything on – as usual, all awesome!
Maybe because I’m a marketing person, my first thought was to jump on my computer and thank them on their social media. They responded quickly with a “Thanks, Kim! Our customers are very special to us! We appreciate your loyalty.” A brand that I love engaged me directly. At this moment, I was not a marketing person; I was an average customer who suddenly felt incredible. To top this experience off, I got an email a few days later that said, “Thanks again, Kim, for your kind comments on our Facebook. Customers like you help us grow!”This whole experience is in stark contrast to the many other marketing messages that I encounter on a daily basis, but it’s a great opportunity for all of us to think about a few things:
Find the time and the staff to make sure you reach your customers where, and when, it matters the most. If you can’t do it in-house, hire a communication person to manage it for you. The loyalty you will build is priceless.
Talk to PEOPLE. It’s time to stop writing communications that say, “We will respond to you in a timely manner?” Who says things like that out loud these days? Nobody, because it sounds phony; you just told me I only matter a little. Talk to people in a way that honors them, and makes them want to have a relationship with your brand.
Hire a communication professional to help you streamline, or refresh the voice of your brand. It's almost always true that an outsider will spot places you can improve operations, customer service and message.
Empower your staff! Boody Wear probably sent me $5.00 worth of free product, yet the loyalty they built into our relationship is priceless. You want that for your brand! Empower your staff to go the extra mile. Do it without making them go through 5 hoops, and a chain of command, to do small things that make your customers feel like the crowned jewels of your business.
Be real. People know the difference these days.
Kimberly McHale is the owner and lead strategist at The Bristol Branding Group. She is also a writer, a singer and a speaker.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!