How I fell in love with Pact Coffee's Service (and got a new case study in customer loyalty)

I do a lot of public speaking and a topic I frequently speak about is loyalty. One of the most effective ways to create enduring loyalty is bridge the gap between online and offline. I want to share with you the best example of this principle that I've ever experienced.

Last weekend I was flicking through Twitter and I came across this sponsored tweet in my feed.

Now we use Pact at Rushmore and their service and their coffee are both very good. Subscription coffee delivered to your door. But I bristle at that word "proper". It's an awful word. A lazy word. An elitist word that implies you're better than everyone. I immediately fired off a reply:

At the very least, my own "get off my lawn" itch was scratched and I put my phone away. But moments later, it dinged and there was a reply. From a company. On a Saturday. Within minutes of the initial contact.

I get what they mean about trying to find the right word but I think companies have every right to be confident and assertive in their product descriptions IF they genuinely feel their products live up to the labels. Confidence in a brand, just like confidence in a person, is attractive.

They graciously and promptly replied almost immediately.

I could end this story here and it would be a great example of a online customer service. But what happened next took it to a whole new level.

Today, as we were all sitting in the office, a delivery arrived. I opened up the recycled Amazon box and found 3 big bags of Pact's fantastic coffee. No way. No freakin' way. Did they...they couldn't have...could they?

20131218-163306.jpg Underneath the bags of coffee was a card... 20131218-163314.jpg

*slow clap* They did. They took the time to figure out who I was, where I worked, what our address was, package up the coffee and write out a note. Not only that, the message in the card was so perfect in its tone and context that I immediately got in touch with the company to express my appreciation and admiration.

Learn from Pact. It doesn't get much better than this.

How 175,000 Mumbai office workers get a home cooked meal every day. Extraordinary.

Every single day 175,000 office workers in Mumbai get to eat a home-cooked meal because of an extraordinary logistical network that gets their lunch from mama's house to their office on time and without mistake. 175,000 times a day.

These guys have cropped up on everything from Michael Palin travel shows to Top Gear to the New York Times but that's probably because it is completely awe-inspiring, no matter from which angle you look at it.

They carry the tiffens "lunch containers" on their heads, on bicycles, on trains and even across the tracks to get to the offices where husbands and sons of the ladies who prepared the food are awaiting lunch. Despite the various modes of transport, the lunches always arrive on time.

There's an old logistics industry tale that suggests that FedEx's legendary hub and spoke system was inspired by the Dabbawallas. With results like that, how could you not be inspired?

via Video: A Day in the Life of a Dabbawalla Delivering Lunches in Mumbai | Serious Eats.

Dabbawalla from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

Virgin Atlantic launching a UK domestic airline

Virgin Atlantic to launch regional carrier | ATWOnline Virgin Atlantic are launching a new UK domestic carrier at the end of this month. They announced the service last year but have finally released details about the new subsidiary. It will carry the Virgin Atlantic titles and livery but will be referred to as Little Red. Of course the airline nerds are up in arms about this but a) it's sub brand that will get little usage and b) what the hell do they know? They could have called it Uncle Richard's Fantabulous Flying Machines for all I care.

Managed properly, this could be a shot in the arm for an airline that has struggled recently. It's being squeezed from all angles from Middle Eastern Carriers, budget carriers, and stronger alliances. Indeed this airline was borne out of remedy slots granted to Virgin Atlantic after BA gobbled up BMI, something which Uncle Richard should have done when he had the opportunity, in my opinion.

The new carrier, which will use four Airbus A320s leased from Aer Lingus, will offer 26 daily flights between London Heathrow and Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Virgin Atlantic is taking over the routes as remedy slots that British Airways was forced to cede to maintain competition on UK domestic sectors after its parent company International Airlines Group took over bmi.

Virgin Atlantic to launch regional carrier | ATWOnline.

Cost of Apple products in the US vs UK

I recently an order together on the UK Apple website and seen the total with tax and shipping when I had a thought. I'm going to the US in June, I wonder if it would be better to get all this stuff there. So I put together the exact same order, same specs, same equipment, etc on the US Apple website. After I got the total, again with local tax and shipping, I compared the two prices.

What Wheel of Fortune taught me about branding

Remember watching Wheel of Fortune (or "Fat People Guessing" as it's sometimes know) back in the 80s? Of course you do. Well in the final round everyone picked the same letters R, S, T, L, N and E for the vowel. Why? Because more often than not the word or phrase contained those letters. Why? Cos they're the most frequently appearing letters in the English language. It was a given, everybody did it, if you didn't there was something wrong with you. From then on you relied on your wits to solve the Ivy League puzzles that Vanna White threw at you.

Why retweet marketing campaigns are the devil

Recently United Airlines (@UnitedAirlines) ran a campaign on Twitter to celebrate the 1st anniversary of their Twitter account, or “Tware” as they like to call it. The basic structure of the campaign involved asking Twitter users to retweet a marketing message for entry into a contest. This is a bad idea. A very bad idea.