While I am intrigued by all the possibilities when it comes to AI, deploying it as a short cut for customer service for our small and medium-sized business clients is not one of them. Here’s why. While I have successfully used ChatGPT for such things as writing and research, the proliferation of app and web based tools for fielding incoming calls from clients and prospects will not be one of them because I sincerely believe that people still value talking to real people —- probably now more than ever. In fact, part of our added value as a digital marketing agency is our ability to brainstorm with clients and talk to them about their goals and what they want to achieve. It’s through these conversations that new ideas and thoughts spring up which adds a lot of value to the entire process. It’s also by listening and tailoring our approach to the clients needs AND personality that we can make a positive enough impression that they feel good about our efforts and refer us to others. After all, positive word of mouth has always been one of our major sales drivers. Which brings me to a real life example of a small personalized gesture that made me a life-long customer of one such company who really elevates personalized customer attention to a literal art form.
WHEN MY DOG DIED
If you are a pet owner you are probably familiar with Chewy, the $8.9 BILLION pet supply behemoth owned by PetSmart. We had been regular Chewy customers for 4-5 years, buying various types of bones, treats and pig ears for our two Jack Russell Terriers, Lilah and Yogi. When Lilah passed away in 2017 that left Yogi as an only dog-child and we continued to purchase from Chewy. Then, at nearly 16 years of age, Yogi also crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. At that point my wife reached out to Chewy via an online chat which connected her to a real life support person so she could cancel our auto shipments of treats. When the chat person asked us why she was cancelling she told them that Yogi passed away. The chat person was very sympathetic leading to my wife actually uploading a picture of Yogi into the chat to show them what Yogi looked like. The chat was completed satisfactorily and my wife thought nothing more about it. Fast forward about a week later.
Going Way Above and Beyond
We received a package in the mail. Opening it up we found a HAND PAINTED portrait of Yogi on a small canvas frame stretched over wood! Chewy had taken the image that my wife had uploaded into chat and had a local artist (sorry, we do not know their name) actually hand paint his portrait (see below)!
A HAND PAINTED PORTRAIT! This, from a multi-billion dollar company with millions of customers, that actually took the time to have this precious painting of our beloved Yogi and send it to us as a surprise gift! Of course, we told all our family and friends about it. Good marketing? Damn right! It is also an example of fabulous customer relations. And when the day comes that we get more dogs (and we will), you can bet your last dollar that we’ll be shopping from Chewy again! Customers for life!