Over the weekend, an entrepreneur in Michigan wrote a blog post about her pleasant experience with Daily Grommet. That might be unremarkable, except that… Daily Grommet rejected her product. Here’s part of her story:
“I … submitted The Original Changing Clutch and lo and behold they got back to me wanting me to send in a sample. I sent them the sample they requested and they actually came back to me saying that they felt there was something missing from my clutch. They agreed to send me back my clutch, so that I could improve my product.I was not offended in any way by their reaction. I actually took it as a challenge and soon I will be launching the “new and improved” Original Changing Clutch, thanks to The Daily Grommet giving me an honest review of my product.”
I am delighted beyond words to read of this reaction. But not surprised. Back in the day, when Joanne was running the $385M Product Development operation at Keds, she taught me an important lesson about how to treat people. What happened is that a large kids-oriented restaurant chain had written to Keds. They asked us to produce a custom run of oversized comical sneakers for the characters that entertained their pint-sized customers. In a company where 3,000 pairs was a minimal, tiny production run, the restaurant’s request was far too small and distracting, for us to economically address. But a few of us (including me) kicked the letter back and forth, resulting in a slow response to the restaurant.
When the request landed finally on one of Joanne’s team member’s desks, I saw that Joanne had written a simple line at the top:
It is unacceptable to take so long to respond to this inquiry.
That single sentence told me everything I needed to know about how Joanne represented our company, our brand, and her personal business M.O.
She lives and breathes the same M.O. at Daily Grommet. She gets frustrated if we can’t respond quickly, thoroughly, and with real humanity. And her Discovery Team member Jen responded to the entrepreneur (shown in the picture) in a way that was respectful and helpful, resulting in a lovely blog review of Daily Grommet.
That is how you build a brand that I am proud to be associated with. That’s why team member Barbara covertly checks our site while vacationing at DisneyWorld, just making sure that customers are getting the information they need. That’s why Deb threatens to personally correct any screwed up shipments. (One customer will never know that Deb actually hand-delivered a Grommet to her mailbox, in our first month, when the kinks were kinkier in our back end systems.) It’s why Sara nags me if I haven’t given her quick enough answers on publisher inquiries…she isn’t going to leave them hanging. I could give similar examples for everyone on our team.
That’s why I can be traveling with peace of mind today (even with birds sh***ing on my head) and know that the company is in good hands. Our team is populated with people who know how to do the right thing, without being told.