3 word of mouth situations when the customer is definitely right

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“The customer is always right” is a tricky phrase. The heart of it, unflinching customer service, is well meaning — but frankly, sometimes your customers are wrong. However, when it comes to word of mouth, these are the moments when that phrase can help you out:

1. When you can make a kid’s day
2. When a big talker reaches out
3. When you can show empathy

1. When you can make a kid’s day

The artistic, water-color-inspired label on Waitrose’s Essential Brown Sauce won a big design award in 2011. But according to a six-year-old, it was confusing — neither he nor his parents could figure out what the label’s art was supposed to represent. So he wrote a letter to Waitrose with an offer to update their label for them with his drawing of an English breakfast (the perfect meal for Brown Sauce, apparently). The British supermarket, Waitrose, took him up on it — probably taking a cue from Sainsbury’s Tiger bread story — and now everyone’s talking about their kind deed.

2. When a big talker reaches out

Beth Wilson, blogger and self-described crazy cat lady, ordered a toy from Amazon for her cat’s birthday. Beth was excited for the toy, but was even more excited about the box it would come in (because even non-crazy-cat people know how much cats love a good box). Unfortunately, Amazon shipped the small toy in a reasonably sized envelope instead. So Beth wrote a light-hearted tweet and blog post explaining why the box was supposed to be the best part of her cat’s birthday, and without it, the birthday was ruined. Cat disappointment aside, Amazon did nothing wrong. But that didn’t stop them from surprising and delighting the influential blogger with not only a box for her cat, but a cat toy big enough to fill it.

3. When you can show empathy

LEGO knows how to keep in touch with both their adult and kid audiences. That’s why their stuff is loved by a wide range of ages. However, when they created a more “realistic” take on a medieval-themed LEGO set, even though the adults loved it, their younger fans were upset about a missing key player: the dragon. The grownups tried to explain that there were no dragons in Medieval times, but to the kids, that was no fun. They had a good point. So LEGO started including dragons in the kits. Instead of holding tight to a branding decision, LEGO was more willing to show they were still in touch with some of their most important customers.

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