What it means to deliver on your brand promise

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The first thing I looked into when I moved back to New York was online grocery delivery services. I still shop at specialty stores and farmer’s markets, but let’s be honest, carting bulk household goods and heavy cans and bottles in the subway is not my idea of a good time. So I get the best of both worlds. I pick up select specialty and local items when I want, and stock up my pantry with the bigger items by using FreshDirect.

If you’ve met me in person, chances are you’ve heard me mention my complete commitment to FreshDirect at least once. I love everything about the brand experience including the witty fliers in my packages, easy-to-use grocery “aisles,” access to local dairy products and organic meat, fish and produce and, of course, the ability to choose when my groceries will be delivered right to my door.

The thing that puts FreshDirect over the top is their insanely good customer service. Broken egg in your order? Wrong beans delivered? No problem. Just let the good folks in customer service know and your account will be immediately credited. No questions asked. While these things don’t happen often, I like knowing that if they do, it’ll be taken care of quickly.

A few weeks ago something special happened. A woman I know moved to the area and I boasted about my passion for FreshDirect and told her try it out. But her first experience didn’t go too well. After the deliveryman dropped off the boxes, he went all the way into her apartment, closed the door behind him and waited until she was forced to tip him. FreshDirect tells its customers that tipping is not at all mandatory. Employees are paid fairly, but if the customer feels the deliveryman did a particularly good job or handled a difficult delivery well, then a tip is absolutely appropriate. Neither was the case with the woman’s first order, but with a strange man in her apartment she didn’t have much of a choice.

I told my friend to contact the company because they’re really good at rectifying issues. Do you know what they did? First they credited her account. Next she received an email and a personal phone call from an executive at the company apologizing profusely for the poor experience. Then the same gentleman came to her building to personally drop off a pie.

All of these things together are pretty impressive, right? The fact that the executive emailed, called and personally visited her puts it on another level entirely. Of course, I’m leaving out the best part: that kind man even brought her a dozen roses in her favorite color with a handwritten note.

That is customer service. That is standing behind your brand. Is there any doubt that FreshDirect really believes in and lives its promise (“Our produce is fresh, our customers are spoiled”)? That move earned them another customer and enthusiastic brand ambassador for life.

For brands to deliver authentic experiences they can’t just make grand promises, they have to live them day in and day out across all touchpoints.


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