Dog lovers quickly agree that our pets are members of the family. According to a recent Fortune-Morning Consult Poll, 76% of owners classify their pets as “beloved members of the family,” compared to the 19% who responded that they’re “well cared for, but still considered animals.” Anyone who knows me is aware our dogs are poster “children” for the 76%.
It seems like similar statistics apply for my fellow pet lovers at the mention of chewy.com. 75% order regularly from Chewy.com and 25% say, “How are their prices?” My response to the 25% has always been the prices are good (sometimes great), but it’s not just price that has the FedEx van pulling into our driveway on a regular basis.
Chewy’s Customer Service Aims to Be Best-in-Breed
Chewy CEO and co-founder Ryan Cohen has described Chewy’s 24-hour customer service as, “Zappos on steroids.” According to a great article by Susan Adams for Forbes in January, Chewy was on track to book $900 million in revenue in 2016 from three million customers who are serviced from three fulfillment centers, each the size of ten football fields. Based on how our dogs behave when a Chewy shipment arrives, we are convinced the cartons are made of cardboard infused with the scent of dog treats. Even the packages that contain only a box of supplements are eagerly sniffed and inspected by the four-legged members of our family. I’m not ready to believe they recognize the logo, but it would be an interesting test if I could persuade Chewy to send their next shipment in a plain brown box.
Chewy’s customer service on steroids was evident when I placed the order of a toy monkey and a toy dragon to celebrate my eldest dog Lucas’ 12th birthday. After receiving the order confirmation, I realized I forgot to include the new bed I intended to order because we got so engrossed in finding toys that would stand up to younger “brother” Arlo, who destroys every dog toy except those with a 5-bone rating from Planet Dog. I replied to the order confirmation (yes—it has that functionality!) with a “Yikes! I forgot to include this item—can I add it now?” message. Within 5 minutes, this response popped up:
Hi there Debora,
Thanks for giving us a bark. Although I’m unable to add this to your current order, I’ve placed a separate order and waived the shipping as a one-time courtesy. You’ll receive an email confirmation shortly with the new order’s details.
If there’s anything more we can help with, just throw us a bone–we’re here 24/7 and happy to lend a helping paw! :)
Have a sunny Sunday,
According to Forbes, Jenna M. is one of 416 staffers (of a total 3,400) who answer phones and texts 24/7. Jenna’s message was just the start of our experience with the Chewy customer service team that made us customers for life. Here’s Lucas inspecting the birthday shipment (including the new bed).
I shared this picture with Chewy to thank them for the special favor and received this response:
Oh. My. Goodness! Lucas is so adorable! Please give him lots of belly rubs for his birthday. I hope you don’t mind if I share the picture around with my colleagues. The whole office really needs to see this amount of cuteness. Please let us know if you ever need anything else. We’re here day and night to lend a paw to you and your furry family.
If you happen to need anything else, just give us a bark–we’re always here to help!
Peace, love and pawprints,
New Dog Using Old Tricks?
A few days later, a yellow, hand-addressed, greeting card-sized envelope, postmarked Miami, arrived in the mail. I didn’t recognize the handwriting and wasn’t aware of any friends or family visiting Miami in late August. I opened the envelope and could not believe what I was looking at.
I shared the card with many colleagues to try to determine if this was the coolest handwriting font and example of digital print on demand we had ever seen (in addition to being the most amazing demonstration of customer experience from an online seller). The eagle eye of a colleague noted the difference in some of the letters and persuaded me Hailey has a big supply of markers at her desk. While researching Chewy for this post, I discovered they mailed two million handwritten holiday cards last year (which cost $940,000 in postage alone).
In reflecting on how this online company used mail for customer relationship management (CRM), I suddenly remembered that we became Chewy customers by responding to an oversized mailer that included a promotional card. It’s clear that Chewy is using direct mail to acquire new customers, engage them, and earn their loyalty. When I took the Chewy boxes to the recycling center, I was struck by the content of the corrugated cardboard section which was filled with Amazon boxes, Chewy boxes, and pizza boxes. (If an alien from another planet landed in our small town in New Hampshire, imagine how they would try to assimilate.)
In April, PetSmart announced it was acquiring Chewy to accelerate the company’s efforts to sell pet products and services both in physical stores and online in North America. I feared that Chewy’s customer service and culture would change, but five months later, it appears the reports are true that Chewy would operate “largely” as an independent subsidiary. In other words, they remain “pet smart,” and are not turning into “pets mart.”
Want to learn how to train your marketing to win new customers and make them as loyal as your pets? Contact me here. If you’re wondering how the monkey fared after meeting Arlo, it’s now a quieter monkey than when it arrived.
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