A Sweet Case of Surprise and Delight

Customer Strategy
Customer Service
We hear a great deal about companies collecting customer feedback and not using it, and about companies ignoring social sentiment.

We hear a great deal about companies collecting customer feedback and not using it, and about companies ignoring social sentiment. But fortunately there are also plenty of companies that act on customer input gathered from various interaction channels. As it turns out, igourmet.com is one of the latter.I arrived home yesterday to a box from igourmet.com stashed between my storm door and front door. I hadn't ordered anything from the specialty food retailer, so I was perplexed. As my daughter and I pondered what was in the box, I quickly realized that the company probably sent it in response to my blog post "Do Your Partners Squander Your Customer Experience Gains?" I was right. The retailer is obviously mining the social sphere for comments and following up.

In the box was a reprise of the igourmet order I had placed through Lot 18: a collection of artisanal chocolate bars. Also in the box was an apology note, a few extra goodies "to make up for" the problems with the first order, and information on contacting customer service to report any issues or concerns. (I'm guessing that item was a hint: Next time there's a problem, please contact us before you blog about it to the world.) This time the chocolates were packed in plastic sleeves inside a box designed to protect perishables. Nothing was crushed or partially unwrapped; clearly care had gone into the packaging.

igourmet won me over with its generous gesture. The company went well above and beyond to do more than appease an unhappy customer (me); instead, to surprise and delight me. I absolutely appreciate it (and even feel a bit guilty--though admittedly, I did quickly glom the Kvikk Lunsj bar); I also would have been perfectly happy with just the apology note.

My question: Is this a case of the squeaky wheel gets oiled, or is surprise and delight an approach igourmet takes with all its customers? Hopefully, it's the latter. If so, it would show that the company takes customer satisfaction seriously, and that if anything has gone awry the company will make it right.

We don't need to go all out to surprise and delight customers every time, sometime a simple acknowledgement of their issue or input is enough to do that just. But we do need to listen and take action--not just for one customer, but for any who might be impacted by a similar situation in the future--if we're to build customer loyalty, advocacy, and trust. If you're not monitoring social and other unstructured interactions channels (e.g., contact center recordings) for opportunities to address customer concerns, you're missing a huge opportunity to build or repair customer relationships.

We all have customer experiences that are also great learning experiences. The key is to apply those learnings. Do you?