How AdoramaPix Saved Christmas: A PR Case Study

You can spend enormous amounts of time and money on strategic, professional PR, but let’s face it: for any public-facing company, good public relations starts with good customer service.

For too many companies, the customer service experience doesn't match the PR agenda.

I’m a PR professional and a customer service snob, so when I had an amazing, above-and-beyond, month-long experience with online photography shop AdormaPix, I had to blog about it.

First, what happened:

Dec. 6
Placed my order at www.adorama.com

Dec. 11
Received email saying my order would be delayed due to higher than expected holiday volume.
  
– At 10:04 a.m. I replied to the email, expressing my disappointment and explaining I needed my prints for Christmas gifts. I asked if there was any way I could receive them by Dec. 15, when I was originally supposed to have them (I was leaving town a few days after that so would have been in a pickle if I didn’t have those prints.)
  
-At 12:30 p.m. I received an email:

Hi Tracy,
Again, apologies for the delay in getting your order to you. I have upgraded your order to UPS 2nd day air, so it should go out either Monday or Tuesday and get to you by the end of next week.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

   -I tweeted how pleased I was with their customer service, and they thanked me on Twitter!

Dec. something
Received my (very high quality) prints  in time. Gave them as Christmas gifts. Everyone loved them. Christmas saved.

Jan. 15
Received a mass email from Adorama’s director apologizing for the mixup and informing me that my account has been credited with one free 11×14 print, to be redeemed at any time within the month. Christmas miracle!

Now let’s look at what made this a successful experience:

1.) They owned up to the mistake and communicated with customers. Rather than keeping people in the dark or just waiting for customers to call and ask about late orders, they sent notification that they were experiencing delays and explained why.

2.) They read email. Sounds simple, but how many companies actually sift through the responses they get to their info@ or customerservice@ email addresses used to send mass emails?

3.) They replied promptly. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get a response to my e-mail, much less a response in just 2.5 hours on what I’m sure was an insanely busy day.

4.) They solved my problem. They took responsibility and did whatever it took to complete my order in the way I originally placed it. I’m sure it cost them money to upgrade my shipping, but that step earned my loyalty and took me from a disgruntled first-time shopper to a repeat customer who shared the story with my networks.

5.) They listened and engaged. They have a Twitter account and clearly are monitoring for mentions of their company and interacting with customers. This is key for catching customer complaints but also learning about what you’ve done right and what your audience cares about.

6.) They owned up to the mistake, again, and explained further. The “We apologize” email was sincere and explained what happened without making excuses.

7.) They went above and beyond. I was already satisfied with how they handled everything, but offering a free print (and not a measly 4×6 – big honkin’ 11×14!) confirmed they are sorry for what happened and they value customers. Complete opposite of the company who says “We’re sorry you’re upset” but then does nothing to solve the problem or make it up to you.

Looking at that list, it all seems so simple, and yet so often I see both customer service and public relations ignore or violate these basic principles.

What’s the best customer service experience you’ve had recently? Did it change your opinion of the company?

 

Image by Here’s Kate

No Responses to “How AdoramaPix Saved Christmas: A PR Case Study”

  1. Melody Says:

    I’ve had great luck with Adorama, as well. They are always my first choice for photo printing and photo-related gifts. I’ve also purchased quite a bit of my Nikon gear from them. Absolute satisfaction on both fronts!

  2. tracy Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Melody. It’s nice to hear others have had similar experiences – it means customer service is really a core value of the company.

  3. Maisie Marshall Says:

    My favorite gift to give during Christmas day is a fruit basket with toys and gift certificates. they can really put a smile on someone’s face’;’

  4. Helen Oster Says:

    Can’t believe I’ve never seen this before today!

    I’ve forwarded the link to the AdoramaPix team and I know they’ll be delighted.

    BTW I’m only always an email away for advice and after-sales support with any order from Adorama: HelenO@adorama.com

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

  5. For too many companies, the customer service experience doesn’t match … | Customer Service Says:

    […] more from the original source: For too many companies, the customer service experience doesn’t match … Related Posts:Customer Service.com | Everything Related to Customer Service [unable to retrieve […]

Leave a Reply

I write what I know (and love). Mostly higher education, writing and public relations.