A Premium Experience & The Power of Giving (Part 1)
In last week's thoughts, I discussed one of Ag Partners Cooperative, Inc's Three Key Priorities: Delivering an exceptional customer experience. Over the past week, I had the opportunity to experience what that looks like from a customer's perspective during my interaction with Bombas. If you're not familiar with Bombas, they are a premium manufacturer of socks, underwear, and shirts. Although I have only purchased their socks, their website states that they produce these three items because they are the most requested items by the impoverished. As part of their impact, they donate a pair for every pair purchased. Allow me over the next few weeks to share the experience I had with them and the potential lessons we can learn from it.
Let's start with some background. My wife (Michelle) and I have a great affinity for high-quality socks and shoes (for comfort in my case and style in hers), and I'm willing to invest in them. To provide context, I don't mind paying for socks, but I dislike buying shirts. Generally, unless my wife gets involved, my new shirts are usually acquired through freebies received for coaching another season of recreational sports, volunteering, or work-related clothing. The reason behind this is that once your feet start hurting, the day feels longer. I've never been concerned about the appearance of my shirt when my feet are aching. Additionally, I enjoy spoiling Michelle whenever possible. So, when I heard an advertisement and read some reviews for Bombas a year or two ago, I decided to get her a pair to try. She loved them, and she has since added a few more pairs to her collection and even gifted me a couple. A couple of months ago, she mentioned that she saves those socks for her premium workout or activity days because they feel so good on her feet. With Mother's Day approaching, I decided to gift her enough pairs so she wouldn't have to choose which day to wear them. I ordered a colorful multi-pack.
Here's where my ignorance showed. I assumed that the color wouldn't matter since only a small portion of the sock is visible above the shoe. However, Michelle asked if I could exchange them for a box of black or white socks. Being the best husband she has, I happily agreed.
When reaching out to Bombas, your interactions are handled by their Customer Happiness team. I interacted with Angie Guerra, and she was fantastic! I briefly explained what I wanted to do, and she asked me to send the new product description and item number, which, due to my busy travel schedule, took me several days to provide. Within an hour of finally replying, I received the following response:
Angie here again from Bombas,
Thanks for letting me know and not to worry!
You’re all set. Your new order number is #16737801 and should arrive within 5-8 business days.
No need to send the items you have back to us.
In fact, instead of having to deal with the hassles involved in sending them back, please feel free to share your items with family members or friends. This way, someone gets a great Bombas gift, you get the joy of giving, and we can possibly welcome another member of The Hive. It's your classic win-win-win.
It's as simple as that! Thank you for your support, and let us know if there's anything else we can do for you.
P.S. Thank you for helping us reach 100 million donations for those experiencing homelessness. See how Compassion=Change at BeeBetter.com
I was pleasantly surprised by the level of customer service I received! It's important to highlight that this entire situation was the result of my mistake, yet Bombas never made it an issue. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to create a lifelong customer. This week, let's examine the various elements of this interaction and determine what we can learn from it to improve our future opportunities.
The first element we should explore may seem simple, but it's worth emphasizing. Premium products come with a higher price tag and the expectation of receiving more than a generic product. If someone chooses the cheapest option, they shouldn't expect anything beyond the bare minimum. When companies treat customers who purchase generic items the same as those who buy premium products, they are shortchanging the premium customer. Good companies allocate their resources strategically, focusing on providing exceptional service to their premium customers. In the case of Bombas, my premium purchase of socks allowed them the margin to give a pair of socks in pursuit of their mission, while also enabling me to give away my original order as a marketing investment. Alongside the premium price, there is an expectation of exceptional quality and execution. Whether it's socks, diesel fuel, canned soup, or crop protection products, generic alternatives may suffice, but the features and benefits of premium products enhance the overall experience. A few extra comfortable steps, extended hours between refueling, reduced sodium with better flavor, or increased crop yield almost always yield a positive return on investment.
Next, let's delve into how Bombas handled the interaction. Their representative, Angie, responded promptly, clearly, and cheerfully. She alleviated any potential stress by setting reasonable expectations for performance and timing. Notice that I emphasized the word "reasonable." She didn't promise immediate shipment the next day, which, in my opinion, is another crucial aspect of a premium experience. Clear communication regarding reasonable performance expectations reduces stress for all parties involved while effectively utilizing the provider's resources to meet my needs. The final part of the interaction we'll explore this week is what Angie accomplished without requiring my involvement. During our communications, she took care of invoice and billing changes, coordinated shipping, and liaised with their inventory unit. While I assume Bombas has efficient systems in place to facilitate these processes, the crucial point is that the necessary actions were taken, Angie oversaw their completion, and I didn't have to exert any effort or experience any frustration. She exemplified exactly what we strive to achieve in our priority of fostering a positive culture: taking ownership with intentionality. Rather than merely renting responsibility, she owned it!
This leads me to this week's challenge: Take a critical look at your role within the company and ask yourself if you are delivering a premium experience. While I focused on Angie this week, every individual involved in the production, packaging, marketing, and distribution of a product is equally important in shaping the customer experience. Make a conscious decision to hold yourself and your colleagues accountable for delivering a premium experience. Give yourself the gift of pride in stamping your work with intentionality and excellence. #thursdaythoughts #bombas #culture #customerexperience #agriculture