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Tigers and Giraffes – How Customer Service Can Turn into Positive PR and Great Image Value

giraffebreadOne of the great joys in the life of a PR consultant are calls by client’s customers who found the PR contacts on the web. When you explain to them that they have reached the PR agency they often reply it was the only contact with a local number, they couldn’t reach any other contact or there hadn’t been an answer to their inquiry.

This way we end up with a real life experience of customer feedback and usually do our best to help them solve their problems because with today’s multitude of communication channels, unhappy customers can easily cause a serious image damage for the clients as they tend to attract other unhappy customers and generate a wave of negative comments on the web.

Good customer service however can turn into a real PR asset and improve the clients brand value. My favorite example is a letter by a little girl to a supermarket’s customer service. The service employee’s answer was so spot-on that the exchange which the girl’s mother posted on her blog was picked up by national and even some international media in 2012, turning a simple customer service exchange into brilliant PR and great image value.

LetterToCustomer-ServiceHere is the exchange again:

“Dear Sainsssssssssssssssssssbbbbbbbbbbbburyyys,

Why is tiger bread c/alled tiger bread?”

It should be c/alled giraffe bread.

Love from Lily Robinson age 3 1/2″

Customer service employee Chris King responded

 ”Thanks so much for your letter,

“I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?

It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.”

He enclosed a £3 gift card “to buy some tiger bread (and maybe if mum and dad say it is OK you can get some sweeties too!)”

Signed “Chris King (age 27 & 1/3)”

Half a year after this exchange and the following wave of customer messages in supporting the name change the supermarket chain actually renamed the bread into “Giraffe Bread”.

Wibke Sonderkamp

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