Chewy is a pet supply company. They know their customers will have to cancel their auto-renewal products… eventually ? ? ?
But Chewy doesn’t just offer canceling clients full refunds. They take their “marketing generosity” to the next level.They don’t just want to get out of the way. They want to be a part of the family.In this episode of Step Up Your Social, we take a look at how Chewy creates unyielding brand loyalty from their customers, even as those customers are canceling their orders.
We then give some thought to how *you* can keep your client lifecycle going, even as it seems like it might be wrapping up for the foreseeable future.
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
If you’re a pet person, you know how much joy your little furry (or scaly or feathery) friend can bring into your life.
Sure there are chores associated with having a pet: They have to be cleaned, walked, taken to the vet… did I mention the endless cleaning?! But through it all, our days are just better with a pet at our side.
Unfortunately, most pets have shorter life cycles than us pet owners.
You might enjoy your fish for a few months, your bird for years, or your dog or cat for decades. But eventually, that hard day will arrive when you have to say goodbye to them… for good.
So now grab a tissue, wipe your eyes and take off your pet owner hat and replace it with your digital marketer hat.
If you’re in the business of selling products to pet owners, this cycle can create a real challenge for you. When someone loses a pet, your customer cycle for them ends. At least for the time being.
There aren’t TOO many industries where customer service reps have to field questions from the grieving as a regular part of their job.
Selling pet products is DEFINITELY one of them.
So you know that awful day is coming for every one of your customers. What do you do?
If you’re Chewy, you use that awful day to builder deeper and more meaningful relationships with your customers.
Head to Twitter and search @chewy and the word died and you will find countless stories all getting at the same thing – my pet died. I had regular packages getting delivered from Chewy. I called to cancel and not only did they refund my money, they told me to keep the food and donate it to some other pet owner who needed it.
AND NOT ONLY THAT! Loads of people shared stories that they got flowers in the mail from Chewy expressing their condolences. I even saw people posting about Chewy sending them oil paintings of their passed pups!
To quote just one of the many tweets you’ll find when you search: “That’s all class.”
Here’s the thing – you can find these posts all over Twitter. But I first learned about this tactic from a random post in a Facebook Group.
And I can pretty well guarantee you that anytime a first-time pet-owning friend asks someone on the receiving end of Chewy’s — let’s call it “marketing generosity” — where they should buy their pet supplies, they aren’t just going to recommend Chewy — they are going to do so empathically, as if it’s a family company.
Could Chewy simply offer full refunds and call it a day?
You might even see tweets letting you know that Chewy customer service makes it easy to cancel orders when your pet departs.
But by going from easy to compassionate, Chewy takes their relationships with their customers to another level.
They don’t just want to get out of the way. They want to be a part of the family.
On a P&L, this might seem bad for business. You are building deep bonds with someone who no longer needs your services.
But pet owners are pet owners through and through. It might be weeks or months before they get back on the horse (or kitty or puppy or chameleon). It might even be years. But they will almost certainly get another pet!
And even if they don’t, they will have friends and family members who do.
Chewy sees these regular order cancellations not as an end of their relationships, but as the start of a whole new one, one deeper and with more intimacy between them and their customer.
And it pays off for them big time – don’t believe me? Just head to Twitter or Google or reddit or Facebook and poke around! The stories are endless.
The takeaway here: wow your customers, even if they’re no longer your customers. Host free classes teaching people how to be better at something related to whatever you sell. If you ship products, make the packaging so fun people can’t help but post a picture of it on Instagram. If you’re a nonprofit and someone sends you a gift, do you send a thank you that let’s them know you appreciate them… or do you send them a letter that knocks their socks off?
The person who bought your product or donated money might never do so again. So what?! They are the people most likely to spread the word about how great you are to their networks.
Make it easy for them to do so and more importantly , give them a reason to want to!
At the end of the day, remember that you can’t just sell pet stuff. You have to be a pet person! I hope you have the same passion for whatever you are selling or advocating for online, as your typical pet owner has for their furry, four-legged friend!