Customer service you say? Aren’t you a PR agency? But as anyone who has ever spent time in house will tell you, the two are not mutually exclusive. Whilst bad customer service can destroy a reputation, good customer service has the power to take brands into that much coveted ‘best loved brands’ arena allowing PR to focus on positive audience engagement rather than fire-fighting.
So I thought I’d share a particularly good example.
On Friday I had the rather unfortunate surprise of nearly eating a caterpillar, hidden inside my edamame beans. Cue much shrieking and outrage from me to the general bafflement of the rest of the office.
Half an hour later, following a brief twitter rant and online complaint via the company website, I received the following, brilliantly worded email from the manager of my local Itsu:
On occasion these caterpillars do slip through the control measures in place.
We serve a pesticide free edemame bean which I am sure you can agree is a lot more environmentally friendly. It does mean that this natural product occasional contain these harmless, if not harmless looking, caterpillars, which sometimes hide inside the bean pods where they are undetectable.
I would love to pop over and get my hands on our little friend and also reimburse you, of course.
Could you provide me with your contact number or feel free to contact me in store.
And half an hour after that, Neil was in reception to collect the aforementioned caterpillar, give me a free voucher and bring pots of frozen yoghurt for the team. (We won’t mention the fact that he also told me it’s very common for caterpillars to sneak thought he quality control and I’ve probably eaten several in the past.)
Such a simple, yet effective example of great customer service, turning one irate customer into a whole team of happy ones. It took the manager about 10 minutes of his time and we all had a good old laugh in the end.
It’s that kind of people based experience that really helps consumers to understand a brands’ personality. I now understand that Itsu is proud of its food, really values its customers and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Needless to say, I will be going back in the near future (although probably sticking to the sushi this time round!).