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Chris LoCurto

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February 21, 2013

Customer Service That Makes You Smile

February 21, 2013 | By | 75 Comments">75 Comments

Customer service goes well beyond taking care of people. It’s also a reflection of your culture.

Groupon

Recently my mom made a $10 purchase on Groupon for an iPad cover. Not a big deal. Just an everyday purchase. Except that changed when she received this email. She immediately emailed me with excitement.

All because of two simple sentences in a standard email. Most companies are more concerned about the sale, and feel like getting your purchase is enough. Groupon understands that customer service is more than that.

Making one lady feel great about her purchase, and excited that it’s on the way, will all but guarantee another purchase in the future. (I bet she even holds it to her ear for fun.)

Question: What are you doing on the back-side of your sale to create lifetime customers?

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  • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

    Its important to never leave the sale at the moment of purchase. These types of follow ups are not hard to set up and mean a lot to those that receive them. They show the customer you are still concerned with their experience even though you already have their money.

  • http://www.hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Mark Sieverkropp

    Haha, that is awesome. I love that companies are getting past the “we’re in business so we HAVE to be serious” and acting like real people!

    It’s so huge to let people know that you’re a real person. That means joking with them, serving them, letting them know you’re thinking about them.

  • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

    Hmm….burnt rice. Now you’ve got me thinking what I could do to give shock and aw for my clients when they buy from us. Thanks for that!

    BTW – my own Groupon like story would be the time I purchased an item, but didn’t get a chance to use it until they sent me a friendly reminder to let me know that I had purchased a coupon from them, but hadn’t used it yet. Nice. Most businesses I know would actually love keeping your money without you using the product you purchased.

    • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

      That is pretty awesome! Not many would do that.

      Hey, I’m going to make myself look pretty bad here, but I’m always hearing you guys talking about burnt rice. I must have missed that post or something because I have no clue what it means and it makes me feel like a new guy every time I read.

      There, I said it. I finally got it off my chest. Now, can someone please fill me in?

      • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

        Very long story. Here’s the recap. Imagine Aaron cooking at home. He’s dealing with a work issue that has him worried. He turns to the tribe, starts sending out requests for help. We all chime in and he is so excited about what he’s reading that he almost burned the rice he was making. Ever since, the term “burnt rice” applies to really good information or advice. The End.

        And please feel free to ask anything like this. We have a year’s worth of inside jokes and last thing we want to be is cliquey.

        • http://jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

          The Little LoCurtos have a tendency to preach it, and charge gum-balls for the burnt rice, huh?

          • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

            Hmmm.. What’s your CLout score again? ;)

        • http://twitter.com/2ndLeicester Kathy Leicester

          I confess I am a little intimidated by those who’ve been here for awhile. I feel as I have to answer every comment, kind of like living up to the quality of commenter!

          I guess it’s not quite that bad, but, well, anyhow, there you have it. I’m here now, and very glad of it.

          • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

            I hope we’re not that intimidating; it’s definitely come as you are. Your comments are great and you can be sure that you are among friends here Kathy. We’re very happy to have you here and participate too.

          • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

            I know exactly what you mean Kathy! There are some really smart, funny, and wise people here. On top of that they all seem to type a lot faster than me.

            I think the best thing is to just say something if you feel compelled and of course if you have time.

            I’m happy you are here (as I’m sure everyone else is) and really appreciate your comment!!

          • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

            Oh please don’t be intimidated Bob and Kathy. We get over excited sometimes, but this is a terrifically (is that a word?) supportive and inspiring group! Glad you are here to add to the conversation!

        • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

          Thanks Lily! Everything makes sense now.

          I still say we need Chris to post a CLo dictionary for everyone. Otherwise, we just make the new people feel like we’re KrAzY!

  • http://jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

    There’s no excuse not to do something like this, given how “cheap” and automated an email message can be. It is the content that counts, and the person or persons behind the content that make it amazing.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Reminds me of a follow-up email I send to new affiliates of one client, which in part reads:

    “Typically they are filled with frivolity, hilarity, and other itties. I’ve set up high expectations now. Crap.”

    It made your mom laugh. Laughter produces oxytocin. Oxytocin solidifies memories and therefore makes things memorable.

    I have memorized 100’s of jokes but not 100’s of quotes. Why? Because they are funny.

    If humor is not in your nature, I suggest two things:

    1. Learn humor. Watch a lot of comedy. Read a lot of comedy. Study it.
    2. Play to another emotion. Talk about how a product is impacting lives or how 10% of your profits go to save the whales. Share a heart-warming testimonial or something else that will hit them.

    • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

      You missed one:

      “Sketch a lot of comedy.”

      Two words:

      Monty. Python.
      Fawlty. Towers.
      Black. Adder. (Okay, that was one, but work with me.)

  • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

    Great reminder Chris! I’m not doing it right, that’s for sure!

    This reminds me of Derek Sivers book, “Anything You Want”. There he uses this exact same tactic to give people a little something special when they ordered a CD. Check it:

    “Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

    A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

    Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

    We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.

    I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!”

    Awesome!!!!

    • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

      Wow. I love that level of tongue-in-cheek irreverence and reverence all at the same time. Burnt rice!!!

    • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

      I like that. Very cool. Very funny, but makes you feel the love. ;)

    • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

      I know, right? Makes me want to revamp my ebook auto-responder. Mine is boring compared to these!!!

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

    Very fun customer service story. I love those. It’s a great feeling to know that the company listened to you and that they’re finding interesting way to connect. And I think we need a pic of your mom when she gets iPad cover. Just sayin’…

    • Laura Johnson

      Yes! With her holding it to her ear ;)

      • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

        LOL totally!

  • http://twitter.com/2ndLeicester Kathy Leicester

    When I read it I inadvertently went “Oh!” Out loud. At work.

  • Garrison Reekers

    Along those same lines I ordered some books from Dan Miller last year when I got them on the invoice there was a hand written note in marker. I have been following Dan Miller for a couple years but this is the first purchase I made from him. When I saw that note I just couldn’t believe it. He must have shipped out several orders yet he took the time out to write a little something on the piece of paper and it just made my day.

    • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

      Love.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Yeah, Dan’s a genius that way!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    So cool Chris. Recently, I implemented email responses to comments on my blog. It’s been well received and many people are wondering how I’m doing it. Just a small touch but different.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Oh, too cool. How did you do that?

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        There’s a nifty plugin called Thank Me Later. You can find it at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/thank-me-later/

        • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

          Joe, I really appreciated you sharing this with me. I’ve received a couple of thank yous already.

        • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

          AWESOME! Thanks for the link!

        • http://twitter.com/2ndLeicester Kathy Leicester

          Thanks, Joe!

  • Wade_Thorson

    That is a great concept, either a simple email or a small note in the package can make a huge difference. It is similiar to the Thank-You Notes sent to employees thanking them, but here you are thanking a customer and potential turning them into a lifetime supporter.

    • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

      I think Zappos does something like this too. Honestly, that’s where I got the idea.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Right! And it paints that picture in your mind that they really ARE happy with your purchase.

  • Laura Johnson

    That’s awesome!!
    I want to get an e-mail like that! :)
    This is one of the reasons I love your blog, Chris…
    You share things that stimulate my imagination on how I can make those around me feel amazing, and keep coming back!

    (I would hold it to my ear for fun..)

    • http://twitter.com/2ndLeicester Kathy Leicester

      Me, too, Laura. I’d want to write back to the company to let them know that I’d done so, too.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Ok, you I love!

    • http://jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

      I would hug my computer. But then I’d break it and wouldn’t be able to blame Skropp.

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        Why not? I’d blame him anyway. My wife keeps asking who this Skropp person is who I blame for not taking out the trash, for spilling soda on the couch, and for leaving my copy of QBQ on the front steps.

        • Laura Johnson

          HA!

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

          Awesome!!!

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    It’s a small thing, and I haven’t had the opportunity to act on it yet, but for my fledgling pen company I’m planning to send a refill to each pen buyer about 3 months after the sale along with a handwritten note thanking them for their purchase and asking if they’re still happy with their purchase.

    • Laura Johnson

      Awesome! Now that makes me want to buy one ;)

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        I’ll work on a Marathoner’s model just for you.

        • Laura Johnson

          Yes!

    • Jaselyn

      That’s a great idea! I love pens, and if I got a free refill for my favorite one, I would totally never buy pens anywhere else.

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        Now all I need is a bunch of customers just like you! :-)

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

          I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that. Those pens are AMAZING!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That would be impressive to me Bret. Ink refills for nice pens can be quite expensive and sending one for free would be a great gesture. It would get me talking about the company.

      BTW, what’s your companies URL?

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        http://somersetpenworks.com/, and for Chris’s readers (and for his not banishing me for posting this) I have a coupon code: CLOBLOG good for 10%.

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

          You’re a very smart guy.

          • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

            I even borrowed the discount idea from Dillon’s. I’m about as unoriginal as one dude can get!

            • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

              If you’re going to copy someone, copy another smart guy :0)

        • http://CorporateCultureRevolution.com/ Bob Winchester

          These are nice! Great gift idea! Nice work Bret!

          • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

            Thanks, Bob!

    • http://www.livebeyondawesome.com/ Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

      Bret
      These are beautiful – I tweeted it out this morning. What a awesome idea about the handwritten note and own refill!

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        Thanks, Jen!

    • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

      Love that. What a special touch. Going to make a customer out of me too!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Genius!

    • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

      That’s a great idea Bret! WOW factor.

    • KTEWSON

      How would you suggest a copy paste idea similar to yiurs if you were a small family owned landscape maintenance company doing a weekly service that is simple, inexpensive thoughtful expression like your pen ink refill idea without it seeming chinsy? Not saying your idea is chinsy. Just saying many ideas could come across as chincy. We already have their business but want to give them little morsels of appreciation every so often to encourage them to not dabble in the interest of competitors shooting them low balling door handle flyers and business cards every month. Thanks, Bret for sharing!

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        Don’t worry about offending me! Not a problem.

        Are you already back visiting them weekly? Or would this be a follow-up for after, say, an initial planting in the spring?

        Here’s a bit more about me and refills. I plan to sell them on my web site for just pennies more than what I can get them for. I don’t want them to be a profit center; I want them to drive people back to me and while they’re there, maybe they’ll find something else that interests them. By sending them the first one, I not only give them a gift and remind them that I’m here, but it puts the thought (I hope!) in their head that we’re a good place to go for refills, especially since the pens are all custom. The refills aren’t, but you can’t exactly look up my pens at another refill vendor’s site and find out what you need….

        So what could a homeowner use that wouldn’t cost you much, would tie in with your services, and might lead them back to you again? Pruning shears? Paper bags for leaves & other pruning waste in the fall (with your logo printed on them)? Hose-end watering attachments that are inexpensive but durable (you don’t want them associating you with something that wears out after a few months’ use)?

        • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

          I guess what I’m getting at is that we all want to keep our businesses in the minds of the customers. You can do that by spamming them, or calling them during dinner, or hanging flyers on their mailboxes.

          Or you can find a way to serve them. This is my starting point at trying to find a way to do that. I’m sure it will evolve, as will yours. Good luck!

          • KTEWSON

            Yes! Serving the customers just comes natural to me anyways. They mean the world to us. I tried telemarketing (phone call spamming) in college back in the 90s when I had $200 phone bills to pay for every month from the long distance relationship with my now husband. (boy, cell phones would have made things a bit easier) I worked 3 weeks and never got a sale. Yet, I can inspire just about anyone to action if I have my heart in it and I have a motive to serve. It has to be organic and have a purpose to do nothing other than serve and make them feel valued. Thanks for the thoughts as I have created yet another Evernote file named in your honor- Bret Wortman inspired pen gift idea.. I have already clipped a few thoughts and items to add to this file in what would be a suitable token of our company’s appreciation for our customers. To answer your question. We maintain properties like in mowing, weed eating, blowing, trimming on a weekly basis. It’s Florida. We mow year round pretty much and keep regular communication with our customers at least once a month. :) Thanks for your help and inspiration! kt

            • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

              I’m honored and happy to have helped!

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Excellent! I love the whole visual of the team cheering, and yes, it is fun, and unusual, and would definitely make me come back. Makes me wonder what we could/should do instead of the standard thank you for donations at our nonprofit – thanks for sharing!

    • Laura Johnson

      Oooooh, you could have fun with those thank yous!
      When you come up with something new and creative you have to share :)

      • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

        Will do – thanks for the encouragement!

    • http://www.livebeyondawesome.com/ Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

      Carol
      I am with Laura – you gotta share. Maybe a nice picture card from a place like sendoutcards.com. We have a thank you card with our family’s picture. Perhaps a picture representing some of th people you help might be nice.

      • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

        That’s a great idea. I will definitely share.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Absolutely! What I appreciate when I give is not a thank you, it’s what did my giving do.

  • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

    Love this. Simple thing to do to connect with customers, keep them coming back and create a shareable moment to get new customers. Amazingly things like this are still uncommon in business even though they work. I love companies like Groupon that want to make business fun but that all understand the value of doing so to the bottom line.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Said the marketing guru!