One of the less stressful aspects of COVID-19 lockdown constraints has been the increased amount of birdsong and, I think, more birds in our tiny back garden. Encouraged by recent nesting robins and blackbirds we decided to tempt some more visitors in and bought a squirrel-proof bird feeder, ordered online from garden/DIY supplier Homgar (“unique products, all in one place”).
Delivery times were impacted by COVID-19 and our expectations of a long wait – set by the supplier – were duly met, but when the feeder arrived there was a faintly bizarre addition to the box: another box containing a set of recipe cards and a CD of Bossa Nova music. Taken in isolation this might be one of those “thoughtful” Christmas gifts from a distant relative (logic: you like cooking and music so this is ideal for you!) but in the context of the delayed delivery it was both unusual and rather touching.
The accompanying message – see photo – explains it all (sort of). Effectively they are saying:
We fell below our normal standards of service and, even though it was due to circumstances beyond our control, we’d like to thank you for your patience.
What’s great about this from a customer experience point of view is that the company had already set our expectations of a long delivery time and, whilst I was looking forward to the prospect of more avian visitors, it wasn’t high on my list of priorities. However the recognition that it might have been was key and even though the chocolate/bossa package might have been a job lot bought at random (like a distant relative with hundreds of Christmas gifts to buy) it was a token and signified a lot more than if they had just put a message in the package.
So often in customer experience I find companies are content to deliver just adequate levels. In this case Homgar didn’t “go the extra mile” – a cliché that’s unhelpful to say the least: an extra inch may be plenty – but they did provide something unexpected that lodges a positive emotional connection with their brand which means I’m more than likely to consider them next time I’m thinking about some garden equipment
Mostly though I’ll be glancing out of my kitchen window to see robins and tits feeding up on sunflower seeds whilst I move on from baking sourdough bread in lockdown to some more calorific treats, accompanied by the latin-jazz sounds of Antonio Carlos Jobim and others. All thanks to one little bit of extra customer experience.