MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

I love a good “Fat-ty”

Posted by mbamommy on October 22, 2009

I’m going to say this right up front: I’m a wine drinker.  Back in college, I was a beer drinker.  And not even a good one at that (Keystone Light was my preferred choice as a freshman….oh wait, I was too young to drink as a freshman….just kidding.)  It wasn’t until I actually turned 21 that I started acquiring a taste for good beer.  And then I couldn’t go back to the cheap stuff.  And then I switched to mixed drinks and finally wound up with wine where I’ve happily stayed for many years.

OK, why the trip down alcohol lane?  Because I want to talk about the one beer that I LOVE…. New Belgium Brewing Company’s Fat Tire.  There are a couple other beers I’ll drink: Pyramid’s Audacious Apricot Ale and Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale in particular, but there’s nothing like a Fat Tire after a tough day on the slopes, hiking, working in the yard or playing with the kiddies.

Forget that they’re serious about sustainability (so is Brooklyn Brewery) and it’s a damn good tasting beer (so is Pyramid Apricot).  Forget that they’ve got a fun marketing campaign, “What’s Your Folly” that combines new media and traditional marketing.  The reason why I LOVE them is because they’ve dialed it up when it comes to customer service.   Here’s the story on why I will forever be a HUGE fan of New Belgium’s beers (btw, this an excerpt from my email communication with them).

MBAMommy: I LOVE Fat Tire.  I loved it when I was living in Boulder and I love it still now that it’s being distributed in NC.  So, imagine my disappointment when I went to my local store and bought a 6-pack last Friday night and the first bottle I pulled out was only a quarter full!  Cap on tight, nothing looked out of place.  But, there it was….only 1/4 a Fat Tire to enjoy.  My 6-pack was now a 5.25 pack and I was bummed.  Luckily, I had 5 more to enjoy but wanted to let you know about the issue.  I even took pics of it to show you (if you’re interested, I’ll email them).  It’s never happened before and I hope it never happens again!

NewBelgium: Thanks for taking the time to write. Sorry to hear about the low filled bottle of Fat Tire. What a bummer! Our bottling line is supposed to catch those before they get packaged, but as you experienced, sometimes it misses one. I would like to reimburse you for the 6-pack. Let me know about how much you spent, your address, and your tshirt size. Cheers!

Mandy Miller
Quality Assurance
New Belgium Brewing Company

MBAMommy: Hi Mandy, Thanks for the quick response!  I don’t remember exactly how much I spent, but it was somewhere around $8-$10.  My t-shirt size is Medium (thanks!!!) And my address is: XXXXX You guys are awesome, thank you!

Less than a week later, I received the t-shirt, a check for $10 and Mandy’s business carf.  Not so unusual, right?  Here’s the catch.  It was a check from New Belgium, hand written and signed by Mandy.  Why is this so impressive?  Think about it: the company is empowering its employee, Mandy Miller, a “Quality Assurance Analyst” to write and sign checks as she sees fit.  AND, she’s giving me her direct contact info, not just customerservice@newbelgium.com.  I’m sure there’s plenty of checks and balances (pun intended) internally for my friend, Mandy, but it’s a really nice personal touch from the customer’s perspective.

So, let’s review.  They made an error in their product delivery.  They responded quickly, they fixed it personally and threw in a t-shirt (which is awesome, by the way).  How much do you think that cost them?  $10 for the reimbursement, $5 for the t-shirt….add in postage and Mandy’s time….probably around $25?  For $25, they bought a lifetime customer, free publicity and a couple inbound links to their site. 

Not a bad ROI.

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