How Merrell Shoes generates word of mouth with customer service

This guest post is from Jeremy Epstein, VP of Marketing and Social Navigator at Sprinklr.

A Shoe Story

I have wide feet. Finding comfortable shoes isn’t always easy.

A few years ago, a friend turned me on to Merrell and I bought two pairs of the World Legend (one brown, one black) for work. Hands down, best shoes I’ve EVER had for business attire.

Meanwhile, last year, I had a failed experiment with the Vibram Five Fingers. I always loved running, but my frame size pounding on my knees led to issues, so I stopped.

Then I signed up for the Tough Mudder, so I had no choice but to get back on the road.

Again, Merrell provided a solution, with their Trail Glove shoes. The first few times out is like learning to run again. You’re in real pain — the sore kind because you are using muscles you haven’t used in some time.

After a while, though, you start to discover the joy of running.

Just great shoes.

The Moment of Customer Anxiety

Then, after five months, I noticed that the sole was coming slightly unglued from the shoe itself. Considering I have a friend who has been wearing his for one and a half years and I’ve only been putting about 25 miles/week on them, I was disappointed.

Worse, I was mentally arming myself for a fight or additional cost. Neither of which I wanted.

Turning the Anxiety into Elation

This is where the magic of Merrell’s customer service came in.

And that magic is what prompted me to sit down and tell you not just how much I love the shoes, but how I am now a raving fan of the company.

I emailed the company explaining the issue. Within MINUTES, I received a response from Todd. He offered a replacement pair, no questions asked. But, there’s a catch (from me):

Thanks so much, Todd. Here’s my issue. Like many of your Merrell customers, I am in the midst of some serious training right now. Doing the Tough Mudder in NJ on 10/21, so I NEED the shoes every day. Would you be willing to send the replacement pair first? (I can give you my cc and you can bill me if I don’t send the others back or something like that.)

Then Todd responds…

Thank you for the reply! If you can reply with a picture of the shoe, I can go ahead and send the new pair to you first. Then, once you receive the new pair, you can go ahead and send the defective pair back to us at your earliest convenience. Let me know if you have any questions.

So just like that, I get a new pair of shoes. I can keep running and training so I don’t need to be without the shoes while I am waiting for the new ones.

Merrell shows me that they understand the mentality of their customers (we train hard and we expect durability) and the speed and trust they have… this is the kind of behavior that generates real relationships, loyalty, value, and word of mouth.

Well done, Merrell!

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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