(Sorry for the delay in posting, but was in the process of upgrading the blog to a brand-new and far more stable WordPress theme. I know it looks very similar but that was one of the challenges. Hope you like!)
Okay, so this isn’t a commercial-writing customer service story, but as an impressive example of Unexpected Outstanding Service, it’s a great lesson for anyone running a business, including commercial freelancers like us.
A few months back, my car went temporarily kaput (ignition-coil issue). As an AAA member, I called for roadside assistance, but due to a roughly 24-hour outage in the automated roadside-assistance system (they weren’t having a good day, either…), members in the affected areas had to pay for their tows up front, and then submit the bill for reimbursement.
A bit of a hassle, but given AAA’s historically tight ship, I didn’t mind all that much. I had a check in hand in a few weeks. And I promptly forgot about. But they didn’t…
A few weeks later I got a letter in the mail from AAA. After explaining the unfortunate string of events on the day in question, here’s a screen shot of the operative paragraph:
Wow. As noted, I’d forgiven and forgotten, and the incident would have weighed on me not at all come renewal time. So, this mighty magnanimous gesture was quite the breath of fresh air. They didn’t have to do it, and I wouldn’t have held it against them. And that’s the point, and what made it so unexpected, and, by extension, so special.
You can guess what I did when I got the letter: Yup. I shared the story with several friends, and, needless to say, thought enough of their gesture to give them some additional publicity on this blog.
I have no idea how many AAA members were affected in those states during that period, but I have to imagine it wasn’t a trivial number. But they unhesitatingly took a likely sizable financial hit, in the interest of doing the right thing.
As freelance commercial writers, offering up a similarly impressive and unexpected act of service would likely cost us far less, while still buying us a more-than-healthy measure of goodwill and client loyalty.
Sure, we can’t give away free stuff all the time, but assuming were talking about a good commercial copywriting client—one that pays us well and keeps hiring us—a periodic affirmation of their decision to work with us is never a bad idea.
Have you ever delivered an unexpected bonus to your clients – either to make up for a mistake, or as simply a random act of kindness?
If so, what happened as a result?
Can you recall a time when you should’ve done so, but didn’t?
Does this story give you any ideas?
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