I came across a fascinating story from someone we’ll call John. We’ll call him that because it’s his name and he told me I can use his real name. John is a fan of LEGO and of Star Wars. I can relate. We have four children and have an entire playroom at our home mostly dedicated to the LEGO constructions our children have built over the past few years. Many of them are Star Wars themed, though not quite like this.
When John found the Mos Eisley Cantina set at Target, he bought it. It’s not an easy set to get. The set has over 3,000 pieces and will cost you $350–if you can even find it in stock. The book of instructions is 400 pages long. If you’re buying this set, it’s clear you are a pretty big fan of both LEGO and Star Wars.
If that’s you, you might imagine the excitement of opening up the set, sorting the pieces, and following the instructions to build it. You might also imagine that, if you spent hours working on it–only to discover that you were missing a bag of pieces–that would be pretty disappointing. That’s what happened to John.
At that point, John could have returned it to Target, except, it’s not easy to return a LEGO build that is two-thirds complete. Even if he did, the chances of finding another set weren’t likely. Instead, John told me he reached out to Lego via its website.
I don’t know about you, but I have mixed feelings about contacting companies on their website. Having to contact customer service because there was something wrong with a product you bought is something most of us can relate to. It’s also something most of us would rather not have to endure.
In most cases, if you’re lucky enough to get a response, it’s something automated, or sent by a person whose job it is to respond to hundreds, if not thousands of requests a day. If the response you get actually addresses your issue, it’s likely to be pretty generic. That’s understandable–it’s not easy to read through people’s problems all day and try to solve them.
On the other hand, the response John received from LEGO is so good, it’s worth sharing. It’s also an incredible example for every business.
Here’s what the email says:
Thanks for getting in touch with us and providing that information! I am so sorry that you are missing bag 14 from your Mos Eisley Cantina! This must be the work of Lord Vader.
Fear not, for I have hired Han to get that bag right out to you.
Have a bricktastic day and may the force be with you.
Look, I don’t know if LEGO trains its employees to take this kind of care when responding to every customer support email, but this is brilliant. I reached out to the company but didn’t immediately receive a response.
What I do know is that it might be the best customer service email I’ve ever seen. Not only did it apologize for the mistake, and clearly explain how LEGO would make it right, it did it with a sense of personality. That might be the most impressive part of the entire email.
I mean, I’m not usually a fan of passing the blame to anyone else, but in this case the bit about how it must be the work of Lord Vader is delightful. And that’s the point.
I mean, if you’re not a Star Wars fan, the email doesn’t really seem like much, but that’s the point. The person who wrote the email clearly understood that anyone who buys this set isn’t just a loyal LEGO fan, they’re a die-hard Star Wars fan.
Whoever wrote the email clearly knows their audience and took the time to make it fun. With what is arguably very little effort, they turned a disappointing situation into something delightful.
By the way, delight is maybe the most powerful thing you can do to generate loyalty among your customers. It doesn’t take much, but even little things like knowing your audience and responding accordingly can go a long way. Making someone smile is easily the best way to remind them why they became a loyal customer in the first place. When you look for ways to delight them, even when something didn’t go right, you can’t go wrong.
Jason Aten writes about the intersection of technology and business.