This is how you create advocates

I recently had a great customer service experience from the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) business that I wanted to share; it illustrates well how to treat customers right and how to have a dramatic, immediate impact on NPS (Net Promoter Score, a customer satisfaction/loyalty metric many companies obsess over). Now, people who know me know that I am extremely rarely impressed by anything, any brand or their customer service, so this is an exceptional story – and one that is in no way shape or form sponsored or solicited by the company in question, but rather a purely my initiative, a story of customer service done right. Just because it’s so rare to see it done right these days.

For some years now, we have used Galvanina mineral water, an Italian product. While as a rule I am against bottled water, few things beat good sparkling mineral water as a refreshment over dinner. And the glass bottle is recyclable. Anyway, it’s not considered a luxury brand and we buy it from Coles, the other participant in the local supermarket duopoly, at an affordable price. I liked the product, but wasn’t an advocate by any means. If asked, I probably would not have even remembered the brand, I just knew what the bottle looked like. In other words, it was all a very ordinary consumer-product/brand relationship.

Broken threadUntil one day, when opening one of the – physically intact – bottles, the glass thread disintegrated; there were small pieces of glass everywhere, including in the water. Not very appealing.

I basically had three options; 1) forget about it as it’s a minor thing and $h!t happens, 2) complain to Coles – where I would most likely get a refund but that’s it – or 3) contact the manufacturer. I couldn’t be bothered to drive to Coles for a small refund, so I took a picture of the thread and, not thinking, tossed the bottle into the recycling bin and shot off a quick email with the product codes & a photo to Galvanina, expecting little in return.

To my great positive surprise, what happened after that exceeded all my expectations. A day or two later I received a very nice official and profuse apology letter (email) about the situation and a request for the bottle which, alas, I no longer had. Nevertheless, they requested my address and some 24 hours later gave me a tracking number for a shipment.

They had sent me this – via FedEx, from Italy – that arrived five days later:


What can I say? My expectations might or might not have been higher than those I would have had for going to Coles, but they certainly were not high; and whatever they were, they were exceeded by a mile and then some. It’s great to see people proud of their product and willing to go the extra mile – or 10,000 miles as in this case – to keep a customer happy. As I thanked them for all this, they replied “Thank you for your kind feedback. This is because we care and we love what we do!”. I would not typically be inclined to believe something like that, but I did this time.

Aside from the obvious lessons here, there’s a hidden one as well: as far as I know, Galvanina does not run an NPS measurement or tracking system. And guess what? Good on them. You don’t need a measurement system – you just need to have a good product, be engaged, care and even love what you do – and then I think doing what’s right comes naturally.

Oh, and another lesson: try the Galvanina waters. They deserve it 🙂

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One Response to This is how you create advocates

  1. Andrew says:

    That is amazing! I’d never heard of this company before, but now I have.

    A cynical person might compare the energy saved in recycling glass with the energy cost of freighting two cartons of fizzy water around the world, but hey. 😉

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