I’ve worn glasses since the seventh grade. And I celebrated a new level of euphoria when I purchased my first pair of contact lenses as a senior in college.
But the fact remains, when I take out my contacts at night, I still need to wear glasses—to see the TV, to make sure it’s the dog I’m letting in before I retire, and to ensure my kids are actually brushing their teeth from my not-so-secret vantage point down the hallway.
So imagine how I suddenly got a pit in my stomach when I went to put on my glasses while spending the night in a NY hotel room, only to discover they were not in my suitcase – or in my purse. I emptied the entire contents of both, and after squinting carefully at every single item, I reached the frightening conclusion that I had left them somewhere in my travels.
Between this moment and the last time I saw them, I had driven in a rental car, sat in an airport, flown on a plane, taken a train, taken a bus and walked 12 blocks in Manhattan. My glasses could have fallen out of my bag anywhere!
I started the task of retracing my steps, already convinced I would need to fork over a few hundred bucks for a new pair.
Since I had spent the weekend at my alma mater in Canada, I called the hotel in Ottawa and left a message for the head of housekeeping. After several phone calls back and forth and a thorough dissection of my previous room, the woman reported that my glasses were not found.
My next call was to the car rental company at the Ottawa airport, and luckily, the phone was answered by Glenna. She was pleasant enough, and promised to look in the “lost and found” and asked if I would please hold. About 15 minutes later she came back on the line and reported she had my glasses in her hand! While they were not in the lost and found, she had gone back into my rental vehicle and found them under the passenger seat.
“Will you be able to swing by and pick them up this week?” Glenna inquired.
“Um … no … I have no plans to return to Ottawa anytime soon.” I responded, “Any chance you could Fed Ex them to me in San Francisco?”
Glenna pondered that question for a few seconds, and hesitated, only fleetingly, before asking how that might work.
I explained that if she could give me her email address, I’d be happy to email her all the delivery details including my Fed Ex number, and that all she’d need to do would be package them up, fill out the form, and drop the box in a Fed Ex box. She agreed and gave me her email address.
It turns out that sending an international shipment of a pair of glasses is NOT that easy!
Glenna contacted Fed Ex, and they sent her a form to fill out, including something called the “Drop Ball” test. It seems Fed Ex needs to have proof of impact resistance, “within the meaning of 21 cfr 801.410″—whatever that means. However, it didn’t seem to deter Glenna!
She dutifully completed the forms, completed the Drop Ball test, and emailed me the tracking information.
Today, a Fed Ex box arrived from Glenna. Inside was a Fed Ex envelope (smart girl—she used it as “bubble wrap” to protect my glasses). But she went one step further. Inside the envelope was another box (turns out it was a Kleenex box), wrapped with a ton of paper and taped up tightly. And inside the Kleenex box was my (very expensive) pair of glasses.
Glenna had done everything she could think of to protect them and make sure they arrived without a scratch.
How does this all relate to marketing?
Brands spend millions of dollars trying to acquire and retain customers. But if you have a bad brand experience, you tend to bad-mouth the brand and never do business with them again. And in a world of crappy customer service, with workers who often just don’t seem to care, Glenna stands out as someone who will always go that extra mile.
So thank you Glenna—and thank you Budget Rent-A-Car for hiring Glenna. It goes without saying that I’m now a loyal Budget user for life!