Lessons from Saddleback: Just be nice!
One of my favorite stories of customer care is Saddleback Leather‘s entire freaking website. What a gem! Take a few minutes to read their warranty page and you can see why I’m so in love with their style:
All of our products are fully warranted against all defects in materials and workmanship for 100 years. If you or one of your descendants should have a problem, send it back to me or one of my descendants and we’ll repair or replace it for free or we’ll give you a credit on the website (be sure to mention the warranty in your will).
Really, it’s a masterpiece. This is exactly how you should think about speaking to your customers in everything you write – not as “users” or computers or social media targets, but as new friends you want to have a long-lasting relationship with.
A while back I got an email from Saddleback’s CEO Dave, with the subject line “An Important Letter” and this intro:
Dave here. I have something important to tell you. It’s not the most enjoyable message to give you. So here it is. We’re doing a price increase and there are some real good reasons why.
The rest of the almost 1,400 word letter went on to explain the price increase, why it’s necessary, how vendors are affected and supply has gotten scarce and how it’s difficult to pass on that cost to the company but there’s a good reason for it and all customers should know the details. I was totally floored reading this!
Saddleback took a really shitty situation – a huge increase in prices – and turned it into a way to have a friendly conversation with their customers. They closed the email stating some new improvements to handle stock requests tech, support and customer care for international customers, then said, “I’m glad you’re on the inside with us.” What a beautiful thing to tell a paying customer, past or present.
The next time you have something uncomfortable to share with your customers, steal from Saddleback’s approach. Your customers will love it, you’ll probably feel better yourself about saying it, and we’ll be that much closer to making the world a better place.