I’m reading a book called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh who founded Zappos. The company was founded on two key principles of having an awesome corporate culture and delivering “Wow” experiences to their fans through customer service. I just happened to be at the portion of the book where Tony digs into the importance of great customer care that makes fans say, “Wow.” It’s very apropos that I’m hitting this section during Customer Service Week.
When it comes to delivering “Wow” service, I pride myself on being creative and innovative with what we do for fans and really making them part of our brand story. We’ve ran a few campaigns that exemplify that this year that I’m particularly proud of. I LOVE what we do around Valentine’s Day with our Random Acts of Kindness program. Coming up with creative and unique ways to let customers know we value them is a lot of fun!
Another campaign that really resonates with collectors takes place around the NHL Draft. They say it’s important to know your customers and I couldn’t agree more. Our Customer Care and Social Media teams work hard to identify great ambassadors for the hobby online and through customer interaction. We find out which teams they love the most and then at Draft, we get the new picks to send them a short message. It’s really hard to pull off as there are a lot of things happening there, but to our fans, it means everything.
I think my favorite Customer Care campaign this year though was the, “Put Your Dad In The Game” promotion we ran where fans could have Upper Deck designers put their father in the background of iconic Upper Deck Young Guns trading cards. One of the stories was particularly touching and I’m happy we were able to do this for that family.
Instilling a belief with our Customer Care agents to make customers feel the love from Upper Deck is really important to me. We’ve really put a renewed focus on that in particular over the last year and it has paid off. When’s the last time you wrote a thank you note to someone? Probably not too long ago, but when it the last time you wrote a thank you note to a company? Not that often. I’m amazed by the amount of thank you notes we receive here at Upper Deck. I went through just some of them I’ve personally received over the last year and I was really appreciative of them as they each tell a different story.
Every collector is different with different wants and needs. Unfortunately we are not going to make everyone happy and most of the people I deal with don’t end up sending a thank you letter. Recently I was dealing with a customer named Corey who opened a product that is a little older and he was upset he couldn’t get a rookie card replaced any longer that was off cut. We actually destroy our replacement stock after a year to maintain card’s perception as a collectible. If you could get them replaced forever for a new mint copy, they really wouldn’t be a collectible, you know? That said, I felt bad as he was collecting with his son. I wanted to at least send him a follow up letter (which I mailed today) that was hand-written apologizing again and encouraging them to continue to collect together. Even if we cannot “deliver happiness” every time, I think it’s important to explain why, apologize and take the time to share you value the customer on a personal level.
Our agents blow the praise I get away though. The proof is exemplified with our Wall of Praise that hangs in the Customer Care area of Upper Deck.
This week I stripped these letters from the wall. I’m not throwing them away mind you, just putting them somewhere else because the board was full. I could have left it up and people would have walked by thinking we are doing a great job, but I’m not satisfied with that, and neither is our Customer Care team. There’s more work to be done and there is more praise to be earned.
It seemed a little bare, so I put a letter up on the Wall of Praise not just for my team, but for the entire company to see.
I don’t believe in celebrating Customer Service for a week. It needs to be an everyday focus, because when fans collect Upper Deck, they are collecting the best. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Premium products deserve premium service.” When you collect Upper Deck, that is exactly what I hope you will receive. Thanks to all our fans for helping Upper Deck remain, “The Collector’s Choice.”
UPDATE: By February, 2020, less than five months after clearing the Wall of Praise off, the Customer Care team had earned enough praise to fill up the board again!