Seth Godin posted “Poisoning the Well” on his blog Friday morning, April 3.
And as usual, with his wisdom, Godin pretty much nailed it. Godin’s Permission Marketing remains one of my favorite business books, and was a pivotal one in our destination travel business.
Or I thought he had nailed it until later that day.
You see, my mother-in-law has a birthday coming up on April 9. Since we are leaving town for a spring break trip and would be in some remote place on April 9 where there are no phones or cell reception, getting a gift ordered for her birthday had been on my “to do” list for over a week. By Friday afternoon there it was, still nagging at me and yet to be checked off the list. I still needed to order Theresa a lily bouquet to be delivered on April 9.
Right after a quick bite for lunch at home, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, so I ignored the call and let the answering machine do its job.
A friendly lady’s voice came over the machine.
Hi there. This is Janet from Gift Tree. I’m really sorry to call you. I know this is an unsolicited call. But I was looking at our records from this time last year and saw that you ordered Theresa Johnson a gift basket for her birthday. Is there anything we can do to help with her birthday this year?
As I heard this, I swiftly picked up the phone.
Why, yes, you certainly can help, I exclaimed. And before I knew it (in fewer than a couple of minutes), I had ordered a beautiful lily bouquet with gift card to be delivered on the morning of my mother-in-law’s birthday.
Whew. Now I don’t know how all the stars aligned just perfectly to make the above happen and be a good thing, but it was exactly perfect. Something important had the effect of checking itself off my list, almost with no effort, and all thanks to the great customer service and tact provided by a company eager for business and eager to please. A rare thing in today’s world.
Sure, timing had a lot to do with it. Talk about Gift Tree getting lucky and hitting me right at the time I had a need for them. But also, I think much of it had to do with the fact that Janet’s message started out with a sincere “I’m really sorry to call you.” It is nice when others show respect for your time.
For the record, we are among those who get the unwelcome unsolicited calls that come on a Friday or Saturday evening when our family is snuggled down for a great movie night or board game. Nothing is more inappropriate or annoying, or goes further to make us not want to do business with the company from which these callers are calling.
But for now: Gift Tree, I thank you. You reached out, and with tact, you helped make my life easier.