Surprise Customers in Good Ways


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Too many companies take their customers for granted.  Appreciation is rarely conveyed.  My credo is that it’s vital to continually show customers they matter and surprising them in good ways after the sale helps to build upon the initial relationship and create repeat business.

Lands’ End, the primarily catalog mail order and online business is known for conservative, sturdy clothing and has built a solid reputation for both quality merchandise and excellent customer service for over fifty years.  The company wanted to reward their customers with a surprise to say thank you; a good idea. However, in this case, Lands’ End did not think about how their gift would be received or know what was even being given.  The entire campaign backfired.

Lands’ Ends co-partnered with New York publisher, Condé Nast, to send male customers a copy of the July issue of GQ Magazine. The company specifically wanted to include men; in the past female customers had received copies of Glamour or Vogue, popular fashion magazines. A few weeks ago, when GQ was received in mailboxes across the country, on the cover was scantily clad Emily Ratajowski, a model and actress. There was an outcry from Lands’ End customers to the company and on social media.  Customers were offended. What was intended to extend gratitude and appreciation had the opposite effect.

What was Lands’ End thinking? I don’t believe they were and didn’t do their homework and know what the cover of GQ was going to be that month. They apologized profusely, and decided in the future to send Condé Nast Traveler, with photos of far-away places and beautiful landscapes or historic buildings, not racy women.

Will Lands’ End be forgiven?  Probably.  But as with any promotion or opportunity, it’s vital that it be pursued with thought and care and the outcome considered in advance.

Surprising your customers is a wonderful gesture.  Just make sure the surprise is a good one and appropriate for those same customers whose relationship your company wants to nurture.

How have you surprised your customers in good ways or been surprised as a consumer yourself?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Shapiro
Richard R. Shapiro is Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) and a leading authority in the area of customer satisfaction and loyalty. For 28 years, Richard has spearheaded the research conducted with thousands of customers from Fortune 100 and 500 companies compiling the ingredients of customer loyalty and what drives repeat business. His first book was The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business and The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business was released February, 2016.


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