I love it when a company truly impresses me. It doesn't happen often, but it speaks volumes of a brand when they go above and beyond for their customers. When it does happen, it's worth sharing. So here we go.
As I read more and more about what kind of foods I should and shouldn't be consuming, I've become more aware of certain ingredients I try to avoid. High Fructose Corn Syrup is one of those things. One of the hardest items to find without said item is bread. And you wouldn't know it! In a perfect world, I would bake my own bread. Admittedly, I just don't have the time to keep up with the demand (when 2 hungry little girls eat sandwiches for lunch each day, you can believe there is a high bread turnover rate in our house).
So I currently have to rely on what the grocery store has to offer. Over the past few months, I've tried to do ingredient list-skimming every time I go to the store to find the best bread to bring home to my family. I've experimented with a few different brands, but some were higher in calories or low in fiber. Others I really liked but the kiddos did not.
It is difficult to find a bread that pleases everyone, apparently.
Finally, I came across a newer brand whose ingredients list I could live with and the texture/taste of the bread was amenable to all: Nature's Own. No brand is perfect, so remember that it came down to pleasing everyone in the household. And Nature's Brand bread fit the bill. We grew especially fond of their 40 calorie honey wheat bread. I liked the lower calories and high fiber, while the girls liked that it wasn't too "rough" like other wheat breads.
Then one day I couldn't find it.
One week it was there, the next it was not. Every once in a while I would catch a loaf or two during a grocery trip, so I would quickly scoop them up and throw them in the freezer for when we ran out. Then our freezer stash grew non-existent. So I started checking out the bread selections at other area grocery stores trying to find my 40 Calorie Honey Wheat.
I literally checked 5-7 grocery stores in a 30 minute radius from my home.
Being in social media, I'm learning the importance of connecting with brands and companies. It's amazing how reaching out can result in an answer or solve a problem. First, I tweeted Nature's Own, then I followed up by filling out a customer Contact Form. Within 24 hours, I had a live email response, sharing that they would pass along my comments to the local Flowers bakery that serves my market.
Awesome! I felt heard, and I was happy.
A few days later, I got a phone call from an unknown Delaware number. Upon answering, I was introduced to a manager at the local Flowers bakery/distributor. He kindly shared about how they were new to our market area, and still learning what to stock where (especially since the 40 calorie honey wheat is a lesser-known specialty bread). He couldn't make any guarantees, but he would do his best to try to stock my local market with a few loaves. He also made sure to tell me how much it meant to the company to have great customer feedback and that I was a valued customer.
Gold star, right there.
A personal phone call AND I was a valued customer? I was heard and personally reached out to. How often do you fill out a contact form and never hear from the company again (except for maybe some automatic response)? In contrast, how often do you get a real live phone call so you can speak to one of the distributors directly?
Imagine my surprise when I got one last phone call this morning by another employee at the distributor who wanted to thank me personally for my loyalty and share, once again, how valued of a customer I was. This time, the guy I spoke with shared they would definitely be making an effort to stock loaves of the 40 Calorie Honey Wheat in my store, and also shared some info on their other breads that might go over well with kids (like their Whitewheat bread, that has the same amount of calories and the same texture but has all the same nutritionals as a glass of milk! Yes, he for realz shared this info, which super impressed me). As we ended our conversation, he, again, thanked me for being a great and loyal customer.
Friends, we love letting brands know when they are doing something wrong. We tweet them, we tarnish their names, we gossip. But it is so important to let brands know when they are getting it right, just like Nature's Own did with me. In this day and age, brands are learning how vital it is to create personal and interactive relatinoships with their customers. We are used to responses and information at our finger tips. Companies who respond, respond promptly, who are personal and who truly value their customers will see a great loyalty to their products.
You can bet your bottoms that I'll continue buying Nature's Own bread exclusively and sharing with everyone I know what a great customer service experience I had (hence the post).
And that, my friends, is a brand-customer Love Story.
Now I want to hear from you:
Have you interacted with a company/brand who got it right?
Who are they?
What did they do that impressed you?
Leave a comment - I'd love to be inspired by your stories!