This month, instead of spotlighting companies who have given our team members outstanding customer service, we decided to highlight our favorite “surprise and delight” campaigns from the 2014 holiday season. The customer service approach is a great way to humanize your business and show your customers that there are people on the other side of the screen.
“Combine happiness with surprise, and you hit the upper register of the feeling-good scale. This helps explain why Zappos goes to such lengths to deliver shoes before they are promised, and why the word “delight” is almost always preceded by the words “surprise and.” - Scott Redick, HBR
Surprise is a powerful emotion. In “Surprise is Still the Most Powerful Marketing Tool”, Scott Redick writes that surprise is addictive because it flips a switch in our emotions and introduces us to new stimuli. He likens the experience to a relationship - the experiences you remember are almost always the ones that deviate from the norm. It’s no shock that the holidays are the most popular time of year for companies to adapt this customer service approach.
The goal? To do the unexpected.
You asked, they listened. UPS used the hashtag #WishesDelivered to hear the wishes of their customers on social media. For every hashtag used, the company donated $1 to one of three charity partners (Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club, Toys For Tots). They went a step further and made a wish a reality for a lucky few. From delivering snow to Corpus Christi, TX to delivering flowers to the elderly at a local nursing home, no wish was too big or too small. Be sure to check out the UPS #WishesDelivered website and prepare for a gentle tug at your heartstrings.
WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving
This Canadian airline knows how to grab your attention. As evidenced by their 2012 April Fools video where they claim to offer child-free cabins, they make your experience anything but ordinary. They set the bar high with their 2013 real-time Christmas giving video, and people all over the world have been waiting eagerly to see how they would respond in 2014. WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving does not disappoint.
The Fedex #DeliverJoy campaign stopped by Austin, TX with a pen of Blue Heeler and Corgi puppies stationed outside of a popular downtown cafe. Help.com’s CEO, Douglas Hanna, in the know, led team members to the pen during our standard lunchtime stroll. Were we surprised? Absolutely. Were we delighted? Emphatically. Evidence (and cheesy grins) below.
*Note: We restrained ourselves from walking away with all of them, though it was very tempting!
Taylor Swift’s Gift Giving of 2014
Hear us out. While not a traditional company, Taylor Swift takes a unique “surprise and delight” approach to connecting with her fanbase. She’s known for personally commenting on fans’ social media accounts is currently sitting at the top of DoSomething’s 2014 list of Most Charitable Celebrities. This year, she released a video of herself wrapping and (at times) hand-delivering holiday gifts to select fans. The result? A viral video and an insanely large group of lifelong fans.
How can your company use adopt “surprise and delight” in your routine? Start small. From switching up your normal website copy to feel more personal, to stalking your customers on Twitter and sending them personalized gifts, the world is your proverbial oyster. There’s always room to improve.
Tell us about your favorite surprise and delight campaigns in the comments! You can also tweet us @helpdotcom.