How Big Companies Are Using Email Marketing To Deliver The Best Service Ever

Despite the presence of newer communication channels like social media and instant messaging, email is still the preferred means of communication over the Internet whether it’s for business or social purposes. This is why big companies have also adopted email as a venue for customer support. Here are a few examples of big companies using email to deliver the best service ever:

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Zappos Makes a Positive Tech Support Experience Better With Wit and Humor

This one made the rounds on Reddit a while back, but it shows how adding a little bit of personality in the email can make a company’s tech support stand out from the rest of the crowd. You can check out the email below first:

As you can see from the email, it should already be considered a positive reply these days simply by virtue of Zappos refunding the customer for a subpar product, providing clear instructions, along with a discount coupon – extensive support like that is very rare these days. But what made it even better is that the email was written with wit and personality, without which the email would have been filed away as a good customer experience and nothing more instead of what happened: Zappos got itself a loyal customer and the whole email went viral, probably convincing a few hundred (if not thousand) more people to give their business to Zappos next time.

Of course, wit and humor has its place. There are times when firing off a customer email like this would do more harm than good, such as when rejecting a refund request. The key takeaway is that they used personality to punctuate an already positive service.

Timex Shows Empathy Towards a Customer

This one also made the rounds on the Internet, although it’s hard to pinpoint where it was posted first (we found it via a heavily forwarded Facebook post, though.): it concerns Timex, which is a company known for selling watches that are affordable and durable compared to others from its price range. It concerns a longtime Timex owner named Michael O’Neal, who once got into an unfortunate biking accident that broke his collarbone and smashed his Timex watch. Michael did not want to look for sympathy but wanted his watch fixed, so he emailed Timex explaining his situation and asking how he could get his watch fixed, as well as how much it would cost.

To Michael’s surprise, the Timex rep’s reply was “We are sure you have enough to worry about after your accident and getting your watch repaired shouldn’t be one of them,” followed by an offer to replace it at no charge. Needless to say, Michael went from being a Timex owner to a Timex evangelist, and you can bet that the email going viral led to a decent amount of people choosing Timex as the brand for their next watch.

One lesson from Timex’s case, which is probably hidden to most businesses, is the worth of reaching out to customers beyond what is required by their service agreements. Poor managers will read the case and think of the cost of the free Timex watch, but really good email marketers will recognize that the cost is negligible compared to building a solid relationship with a customer and all the new customers that the good PR will bring. Think of it this way: nobody expects businesses to care about anything other than profit, but sometimes what really brings in the profit is caring about your customers enough.

FrozenByte Ignores Protocol for a Customer

The main crux of this case is a gamer named Eduardo who purchased Frozenbyte’s game Trine from Amazon because it was unavailable through Steam in his region. The problem was Eduardo preferred to activate the game from Steam in order to keep his digital library organized and to take advantage of Steam’s community features, but the version of the game from Amazon is standalone and cannot be integrated with Steam normally. So he emailed Frozenbyte to see if there is a workaround.

The case is not a game bug, there’s nothing wrong with the game. The game is perfectly playable, works as intended, and the situation is just a problem with preference on the user’s end. It shouldn’t be Frozenbyte’s concern, as that’s what Steam and Amazon – as third party distributors – are for.

Yet Frozenbyte replied to Eduardo’s email and gave him a Steam Activation Key for the game. Basically, they gave the customer a free copy of the game on Steam. Eduardo still has the Amazon copy as a separate version. This case shows a sterling example of a company caring enough about a customer’s satisfaction that they won’t let red tape get in the way. It gave their company a reputation for being customer-centric instead of bureaucratic.

Blizzard Values Happy Customers More Than Profit From Unsatisfied Customers

Many companies usually take advantage of spur of the moment purchases by imposing strict policies and requirements with regard to returns of sold products, ensuring that it’s difficult for customers to return purchases, especially if it’s just a case of “buyer’s remorse.”

Not so with game developer and publisher Blizzard (of World of Warcraft fame.) In one case, a customer emailed their support team stating that he just got caught up in all the hype of a new Blizzard release, but wasn’t really happy with the product and would like to return it for a refund. Most companies wouldn’t consider it as a valid reason for a return and the customer would just have to charge it to experience. Yet Blizzard replied that they’d prefer customers to walk away happy with a refund than disappointed with how they spent money with the company. Then while using mostly positive words to emphatize with the customer, the rep gave him a full refund amounting to $60.

Now, this is perfect as the final lesson because it encapsulates most of the lessons that can be found in the previous examples: had Blizzard chosen to deny the refund, the $60 would most likely be the last money that they’ll get from the customer. But since they chose to value customer satisfaction, that user will be more than willing to give future Blizzard games a try and the company would more than likely enjoy a series of regular purchases from the person in the future.

2 Responses to “How Big Companies Are Using Email Marketing To Deliver The Best Service Ever”

  1. […] basic rules and guidelines that were once applicable to email marketing success have also evolved. Even though email marketing success is much harder to obtain than […]

  2. […] basic rules and guidelines that were once applicable to email marketing success have also evolved. Even though email marketing success is much harder to obtain than […]

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