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April 13, 2017


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Actually, I have a timely example from the dissatisfied consumer perspective. I subscribe to one of the many meal prep delivery services (e.g., Blue Apron, etc.), which delivers a box of pre-selected ingredients for a set number of meals every week. The box includes several freezer packs to keep the ingredients cold during shipping. In this week's shipment, I received a rather moldy yellow onion. At first, I considered throwing it away and calling it a wash; half of the onion was still usable. My financial conscience got the better of me, however, as the service costs a decent bit of money each week. I wrote a brief note to the customer service contact listed on the enclosed recipe cards stating the issue and that it was merely an "FYI"--the total length was three sentences, and I didn't request a replacement, credit to my account, or make any grand statements like, "I will NEVER use this service if this is what you send me for $x per week!"

I received the following note the next business day:

"So sorry to hear that your order wasn't up to our usual standards this week! We fully understand that it defeats the point of our service for you to receive anything less than 100% pitch-perfect ingredients in your meal kits. We'll be relaying this to our operations team so we can investigate why this issue occurred and how to ensure this doesn't occur in any future deliveries.

In the meantime, I'd like to make this up to you, so I’ve gone ahead and dropped $15 of credit into your account. I hope this can help make up for your experience in some way!

If there's anything more I can do to make this right, please don't hesitate to let us know! We are always here to help.

All the best,

Alyssa LastName
Customer Experience Associate"

Long story short, then, I got quite a return for what would've cost $1 for me to replace myself at the grocery store. Courtesy goes a long way, whether the experience is positive or negative!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Christie, thanks for that powerful example. Your courtesy reaped rewards. And no doubt the company's response earned points with you.

Thanks for taking the time to tell your story.


George Raymond

For many years, my optician has been sending me annual, hand-signed birthday cards, even though I only buy glasses every five years or so. But I always go back to him.


My father, a mechanic, always sent handwritten reminders on pre-printed postcards of upcoming inspections to his customers. I remember every month we set an assembly line, my mom would write out the addresses, my dad would put in their information and sign and I got to lick the stamps. UGH! We could definitely see the rewards from our efforts.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

George, thanks for that good example. Some day you will start getting new glass more often.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Joyce, great story! Thank you for sharing it.


Marcia Yudkin

I am a sucker for such personal messages, also. And I do mean "sucker." Once I received a product in the mail from a prominent information marketer with "Hi Marcia!" and a smiley face hand-written on the envelope.

I jumped to the conclusion that the person I had ordered from knew who I was (I am also an infomarketer, so that's plausible) and used that as a pretext to call him. I then found out that this man's company wrote that on all their packages and the guy did not know (or care to know) who I was. How mortifying - particularly since jumping on the phone to call someone is something I very rarely do.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

These days marketing emails to strangers often include "Hi Blank" greetings with smiling emoticons. But to add one to a package! It's no wonder you concluded that he knew you. He suggested personal knowledge when he marked the envelope with a note and smiley.

I would have reacted the same way if someone in the business writing arena had sent an envelope marked that way to me.

What lesson can we take from your story? Perhaps that when we surprise and delight our customers with personal gestures, we need to follow through. He should have communicated delight when he heard from you.

Thanks for the example, Marcia.



Very fascinating stories to read all...further interesting Ms. Lyn's response to each feedback...inspiring



Hi Ms. Lynn
I continuously follow your post since I signed in, did you ever post any guidance related to covering letter for Resume...please do advise if possible in sometime.



I also love this kind of special attentions given to customers! Even if it's not personalized.

For example, I once subscribed to a farm brunch for the national holiday. After a few emails, they sent me a letter with the confirmation which included a map to reach the farm.

But the things that I appreciated the most, were the beautiful big butterfly carved in blue paper that they glued to the outside of the envelope, the heart-shaped paper clips that held everything inside the envelope together, and a couple of candies they put inside the envelope.

It showed they care for details and in fact the brunch was epic!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Deborah and Hasan,

Thank you for your comments. I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been on vacation in South Carolina.

Deborah, thanks for your lovely example. The writers certainly succeeded in delighting you.

Hasan, you asked about cover letters. Please type "cover letter" in the search box, which appears at top right if you read on a large screen, or at the bottom if you read on your mobile phone. You will find three blog posts with advice on writing a cover letter.



Thank you Ms. Lynn for taking time to respond. I would definitely make the most of it.



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