A couple of weeks before Christmas, my wife got a Christmas card in the mail, and a great lesson in customer care.
Being close to Christmas and all, a Christmas card doesn’t sound so unusual.
What was unusual, however, was that this card was from Chewy.com.
But, that’s not all.
The thing that stood out the most to me was that the card was written by hand.
By an actual human hand.
If you’re not familiar with Chewy.com, let me introduce you. This is a publicly traded company that sells pet products online. I mean, a LOT of pet products.
In fact, thanks to some fantastic research by Craig Smith over at expandedramblings.com, I quickly discovered that Chewy has processed north of 100 million online orders since 2011, and is projected to have hit $3.5 billion in sales for 2019.
It’s no secret that these people were REALLY busy in December.
I mean, with an inventory of 45,000 unique online products, they were shipping everything from doggy umbrellas (Yes, that’s a thing) to LickiMat Boredom Buster Slow Feeder mats (Bonus business idea: make these for kids.)
Somewhere in all of the holiday rush, they found the time and energy to hand write a Christmas card and mail it to my house.
Now I understand that Chewy has over 10,000 employees.
But what gets me the most is the thoughtfulness.
I’m sure the CEO didn’t personally write all those cards. Perhaps they spread out the responsibility among the employees. Maybe they outsourced the entire thing.
The point is not in how they did it, but rather in the fact that they got it done.
Chewy prioritized a personal touch of customer care over the holidays.
They didn’t have to, they just decided to. They felt it important enough to merit the resources spent to go above and beyond. What was the effect?
A quick Google image search of “chewy handwritten card” shows that thousands of others noticed too.
What can we learn from Chewy’s example? Why did this action have such a big impact? Here are a few of my observations:
It was unexpected.
Great customer care is all too rare.
Whether you’re a billion-dollar company or a small-town solopreneur, you can surprise your customers by doing the unexpected. No customer is sitting by their mailbox waiting for a handwritten note from you.
So, surprise them.
Do a thoughtful thing that they aren’t expecting. Something that makes them stop and say “wow!”
Early last year I started making handwritten letters a part of my customer onboarding process at Spirelight Web. After the customer project was finished, I’d hand write a letter of gratitude, include a small gift card, and drop it in the mail.
Every response I’ve gotten has been positive.
Life is full of bad surprises. Give your customers a good one!
It was personal.
Customer care includes human-to-human interaction.
In a world where AI, automation, and chatbots are all the rage, there is still no interaction as impactful as a personal touch.
The beautiful thing is, you can leverage this to gain advantage over the competition – especially the big players.
Most businesses (particularly the big ones) lose their personal element the bigger they grow. Buck that trend and find ways to get personal and let your clients know you care.
It was timely.
Great customer care chooses the right moment.
While Chewy could’ve sent a note of appreciation at any time of the year, they chose to send it at Christmas.
The holidays are a time when people give gifts and share joy with those they love and care about.
When a Chewy Christmas card showed up in our mailbox during the holidays among other cards from the family and friends I love, what did that say to me?
Chewy values customer care, and they consider me part of their family.
Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, a holiday, or the end of a project, leverage the spirit of gratitude and generosity that that naturally occurs on these occasions. Make an impact, and treat those beautiful customers like family.
Maybe you don’t have a big marketing budget, but do you have a piece of paper, a pencil, and a postage stamp? Can you make a well-times phone call?
Take advantage of the power of a personal touch, and provide surprising customer care.
What ways do you let your customers know that they are valuable and appreciated? I’d love to know!