How to Turn Customers into Raving Fans with One Email

This last Christmas, my wife and I ordered some Baylor University fan gear from Fanatics. My experience wasn't bad, although I do remember thinking the shipping seemed unusually slow.  I chalked it up to the holidays and really didn't think much about it.  The sweatshirt, cap, and other things I bought were good quality and, overall, I was pleased with my order.

However, I recently received this email from Fanatics:

Dear William,

You're receiving this email because we shipped your holiday order later than we should have. This is unacceptable.

We know you have many options for your holiday shopping. We also know that the holiday season can be stressful and fast-paced, and that a hassle-free shopping experience is imperative. You deserve dependable service, and our job is to ensure that the gifts you are eagerly anticipating arrive as promised.

In addition to offering our sincerest apologies, I want to personally assure you on behalf of the entire team here at Fanatics that we are committed to addressing any and all issues that we can control. We will get to the root causes of all problems experienced. In the meantime, we remain committed every day to measuring up to your standards.

In hopes that you will return to Fanatics and give us another chance to provide you the hassle-free shopping and speedy delivery you expect and deserve, I'm offering you $15 in merchandise credit plus free 3-day shipping on a future purchase anytime in 2014.

All of us at Fanatics appreciate your business and will do everything we can to ensure you always receive the best possible online shopping experience.   We look forward to serving you again.

Warm Regards,

Alan Trager, CEO


My response?  Wow!  I hadn't sent an email or called regarding my order.  They noticed all by themselves what happened and not only sent me an email acknowledging this, but also gave me credit for more merchandise!

Smart.  Very, very smart.

Why would they do this?  After all, I didn't complain and, likely, would have ordered from them again.  They have some of the best prices on the internet for college apparel.  Here are three reasons why they sent this email.

The best marketing is customer referrals.

You can spend a lot of money on advertising, but all the money in the world won't replace a bad experience.  The only thing that can overcome that is building a good relationship with your clients.  That's what they did here.  They built a relationship with me in one email.

Customer service is driven from the top down.

The CEO of Fanatics obviously knows how to treat customers.  In my experience, this kind of customer service is rare, and it takes moves like this to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Authenticity builds customer rapport.

This company was willing to admit a mistake and do what they could to rectify the situation.  Was I an angry customer?  No.  Would I have purchased from them again?  More than likely.  What was the outcome of this email?

I'm a fan now.  A huge fan.  And what do fans do?  They talk to others about their experience.  Just like I am.  Now, you might become a fan too.  All because of one email, a willingness to admit a mistake, and going the extra mile to take care of it.

Customer service isn't about telling people how awesome you are, it’s about creating stories that do the talking for you. [Quote from the Buffer blog.]

How many times do we lose customers (or influence) because we are too proud to admit that we're wrong?

How many times do we miss opportunities to turn customers (or followers) into raving fans because they haven't complained or seem to be doing "just fine"?

What can we learn from a company like this that is willing to go above and beyond to reach out to their customers and turn them into raving fans?

What will you do to increase your fan base?  Spend more money on advertising? Or use some of those advertising dollars to turn ordinary clients into lifelong enthusiasts?

How creative can you get?  Let me know your plans to turn customers into raving fans in the comments below.

Image credit: lisafx / 123RF Stock Photo

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