How to make an invoice worth talking about

Last summer, everyone and their mother was reading, talking about, and forwarding me the great story about Peter Shankman and his Morton’s experience.

It’s great, that’s for sure. Definitely remarkable.

The “money” quote, in my opinion, was:

Customer service is no longer about telling people how great you are.

It’s about producing amazing moments in time, and letting those moments become the focal point of how amazing you are, told not by you, but by the customer who you thrilled.

Those “amazing moments” in time are precisely why you want to make everyone a marketer. It’s precisely why every customer touchpoint matters.

And it’s why I like to talk about invoices that are remarkable as I have done many times (here and here, for example).

So, I was particularly happy with Raving Fan Julianne Weiner, the COO of Sonic Promos, sent in not one, but TWO examples of companies that have shot for “remarkable” and “different” in their invoices.

The first comes from SnugzUSA (a BtoB supplier), which sends the cover email below with their invoices:

Special Delivery!
No, it’s not a singing telegram, but we are jumping out of our seats with gratitude for your business!

You now have an attached copy of our invoice in your inbox along with shipping information to assure you that your customer will soon be doing back-flips because you came through for them yet again.

Wow, that’s a big smile and hopefully you are completely satisfied with our products and services.

We are committed, I’m talking do-anything-it-takes committed, to be the best supplier in the industry.

If you have any questions about your order or just want to talk about the weather, don’t hesitate to give us a call or simply reply to this email.

And Julianne shares her own company’s “mad-libs” approach (my kids would be proud, as they love that game):

Attached is a PDF of your invoice from Sonic Promos. A paper invoice WILL NOT BE MAILED (unless otherwise specified).

Invoices can be paid via check (mailed to the address below) or by credit card by calling 301-869-7800.

We are constantly trying to better ourselves to ensure your continued satisfaction.

Please take a moment to engage in useful creative writing:
I was so (adjective) _________ when I received my order of (plural noun)________.

Working with Sonic was (adjective) _________. I would (adverb)__________ recommend Sonic to a friend!
In fact, you should (verb)___________ (proper name) __________ because I know he/she/they need (plural noun) ________for their (type of event or program)________!
If there was one thing I think Sonic could do to improve, it would be (your opinion!) ___________.

In the future, we hope that you will again consider us for all your marketing, advertising and promotional needs.

We look forward to working with you again soon.

I’ll let Julianne fill in the data re: what customers have said (about the invoice) and in filling in the blanks — but what actually happened isn’t so important as the fact that they are TRYING.

Differentiation, as Youngme Moon tells us, is a mindset. If this approach works, great. If not, it’s obvious that both of these companies are willing to experiment and to try new things in order to be remarkable.

When you do that…when you have a “Dandelion Marketing” culture that empowers everyone to do that…you increase your odds of being in the right place at the right time and creating the moment that will lead to a viral sensation.

About Jeremy Epstein

Jeremy Epstein is VP/Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr, the world’s leading enterprise Social Media Management System to help large organizations save time, mitigate risk, orchestrate activity, and use social data to grow their business. A committed WOM practitioner, Jeremy previously worked at Microsoft and ran an international community marketing-focused consulting firm.

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Comments

  1. Ashley Neal (@smallbizatlanta)

    Great post! I love the “mad libs” approach. Thanks for sharing!

  2. jeremy epstein

    Ashley–thanks for reading and for the comment! Glad you liked it.

  3. Colleen Foshee

    Jeremy, you gave me something to think about and take action on. Thanks!

  4. Jeremy

    Happy to help. Keep us posted.

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